ESPN Moves up Release of Highly Anticipated Michael Jordan Series

The Last Dance
(Twitter/ESPN)

The sports world is feeling the crunch of suddenly having absolutely nothing going on. Athletes are creating makeshift sports at home, while fans cling to repeats of The Ocho. Kids got Frozen 2 early and free Amazon content but sports fans have been left in the cold.

Until now.

ESPN as stepped up and is delivering the hotly anticipated, 10-part Michael Jordan documentary months early. It will now be premiering now on April 19th.

The documentary series, The Last Dance, details Jordan’s last season with the Chicago Bulls. For millennial sports fans, it’s tough to understate how big this is. In the late 90s, there was nothing cooler than Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. And with literally nothing else in the sports world even happening, everyone will be tuned in for this. Even the final trailer seems incredible and leaves fans awash in nostalgia for a time when people could actually gather in public.

This is big enough news that even athletes can’t wait for the series. LeBron James is the only basketball player in a generation to even get close to the Jordan discussion (and some may say James is the better player). And even LeBron can’t wait for the documentary.

The 97-98 Bulls was one of the more unique versions of the dynasty, as outside of Jordan you had Steve Kerr (now a wildly successful coach), Scottie Pippen (at the height of his career), Dennis Rodman (before he was a North Korean spokesperson) and Phil Jackson (always the Zen Master). That’s a lot of personalities around the biggest personality in basketball history.

Former NBA Star Working to Secure 10 Million Masks for NYC

Stephon Marbury Masks
(Instagram/starburymarbury)

New York City is the new epicenter for COVID-19. The hospitals have been overrun by cases, sirens are the only constant sounds on the streets, and healthcare workers are in desperate need of PPE. And on that last need, one former NYC basketball star is trying to come to the rescue.

Stephon Marbury, a talented baller from Brooklyn who starred for the New York Knicks, is working to negotiate the delivery of 10 million of the much-needed N95 masks, and at a steep discount. Marbury played in the NBA for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until he moved to China that he became a basketball hero.

In China, where he still lives, Marbury became an icon. And as the country of origin for COVID-19, they know a thing or two about fighting the illness. Now that cases are lower in China, they don’t have a significant need for protective equipment. Marbury wants to help move the surplus to his hometown and found a mask supplier willing to sell them at cost (which is about three times cheaper than what NYC has been paying for masks).

“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury told the New York Post. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

The basketball legend still has family scattered throughout the city, and recently lost a cousin to the deadly virus. He said he’s working to have the masks delivered in weekly shipments of 2 million.

Marbury has always been a charitable figure, donating frequently to various causes when he was a Knick. This latest act is another testament to the legacy of one of the most important players New York City has ever produced. He wasn’t exactly known for assists, but this one would be a big one that’s never been needed more.

Sports Apparel Companies Start Manufacturing Hospital Supplies

Sports Apparel PPE
(Twitter/AROD/BauerHockey)

Getting healthcare workers the supplies they need has become a worldwide effort, with companies doing what they can to make sure doctors and nurses have enough personal protective equipment (PPE) to safely treat COVID-19 victims. We saw it with medical TV dramas donating their supplies to local hospitals, and now sports equipment manufacturers are shifting gears to help answer the call.

Major League Baseball and Fanatics, the company that makes its jerseys, are retooling their efforts to instead make some of the most in-demand items in hospitals: masks and gowns. Fanatics immediately stopped making jerseys for MLB and is using the fabric to make those masks and gowns. Their goal is to make one million for hospitals around Pennsylvania (where the factory is located), with hopes to increase production to help the New York/New Jersey area as well.

The employees are appropriately spaced out in the factory (read: more than six feet apart) and volunteered to be part of the movement. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred quickly agreed to the shutdown of MLB jerseys and cleared the way for Fanatics to refocus on much-needed hospital supplies. Baseball greats approve:

Fanatics isn’t the only sports company getting in the mix. Bauer, which is synonymous with ice hockey, has joined in to start manufacturing much-needed face shields for doctors and nurses. Sure, it would be cool if they were inked up like a goalie’s mask, but I understand how that may be time prohibitive. The legendary hockey company released a statement on social media, saying:

Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage. Right now, we’re all on the same team. We’re repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable.

Bauer will put skates and helmets on hold, and will instead be dedicating its efforts to making the equipment doctors and nurses need more than ever.

MLB Teams Share Messages of Solidarity as Opening Day Passes

We Miss You Baseball
(Twitter/RaysBaseball)

Usually, this is a triumphant time for baseball.

Winter is over, teams are hopeful, and fans are ready for a new season. Opening day is a special day in America, even if baseball doesn’t occupy the same place in our culture as it once used to when it truly was the country’s national pastime.

Unfortunately, thanks to the global pandemic we are all dealing with right now, opening day has been postponed, along with the rest of the season. But major league teams still did their best to recognize opening day online.

First, Rob Manfred, the MLB commissioner, put out a statement urging fans to stay home to help contain the coronavirus, sharing ways they can watch classic games for free online, and professing hope that the sport will return soon.

Teams across the league put out video messages on social media, sharing messages of solidarity with fans.

The Rockies made an exception to the “no crying in baseball” rule.

The Red Sox put out a statement recognizing fans for their efforts to protect themselves and others from COVID-19:

And the Mets put a call out to fans to share images of themselves celebrating this unique opening day with their gear:

We may not have baseball this April, but we’ll have it again, and the MLB is doing its best to keep fans happy and hopeful as we wait to return to our favorite ballparks.

ESPN Needs to Air ‘The Ocho’ Permanently to Fill the Sports Vacuum

The Ocho
(20th Century Fox)

Every day, we tell you about some new piece of content for kids to enjoy, to help children survive the unprecedented isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But what about the parents? Won’t somebody think about the parents?

Sure, having extra content for kids to stream is helpful for parents too, and we have plenty of platforms via which to binge and chill all spring. But there’s one void that simply can’t be filled by Netflix documentaries and Office reruns: sports.

Right about now we’d be watching March Madness, tracking the NBA during the home stretch of the season, and preparing for baseball to start. Instead, we’re left with old highlights and broadcasts of old games and even Wrestlemania.

On Sunday, ESPN did what it could to ease your sports-deprived pain by bringing back ESPN Ocho for a full day of programming.

Ocho was dreamt up by the people behind the Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, which came out back in 2004.

It was a fictional eighth ESPN channel focused on some less legitimate sporting events and competitions. ESPN leaned into the joke once before, on August 8th, 2017 – the 8th day of the 8th month – and last Sunday, March 22nd, they ran it back.

But we need more.

The collection of competitions included some ridiculous, not-quite-professional stuff, like cornhole, ultimate frisbee, a Goldern Tee tournament, slippery stairs:

and even Tetris!

Here’s a look at the broadcast line-up:

There was stone-skipping:

And sign spinning and sport stacking. There’s even an electricians championship, which yielded some shockingly entertaining footage:

Pretty funny stuff. It’s always nice to be reminded that ESPN has a sense of humor beyond SportsCenter catchphrases and Kenny Maine. Hopefully, you were able to tune in on Sunday to catch your favorite non-sport sporting event.

ESPN Ocho might have to become a full-time channel soon. With the Olympics now postponed along with every other major sports league, we’ll be needing it more than ever!

NHL Player Uses Drone to Send Toilet Paper to Isolated Teammate

Drone Delivers Toilet Paper
(Twitter/Megan_Carter_)

This country once ran on gold, then on oil, all supplanted in the last decade by data. But the new prized commodity in this nation is toilet paper. After the COVID-19 outbreak came to our shores, people responded by going straight to the grocery store and buying every roll of toilet paper or TP-adjacent product they could find.

Because of the widespread shortage, it falls on friends to be there for you when you need someone to spare a square. And Jeff Carter of the L.A. Kings probably knows this better than anyone. His teammate, Alex Iafallo, hooked him up. But he didn’t just drop off a roll, he went to extreme lengths and had it delivered…by drone.

This is where we are as a country, which is both illuminating and also kind of scary. It’s terrifying you can’t just automatically get toilet paper when you need it. But it’s cool we live in an age when a friend can deliver without even leaving his home.

Camaraderie in hockey is different than in other sports. NBA players may be better on Tik Tok, but I don’t see any of them using their robots to save their teammates from a crappy situation.

#SocialDistancingGoals

This Dad and Daughter Are the Cheerleaders We All Need Right Now

Roland and Jayden Cheerleading
(Instagram/rolandp90x)

Enthusiasm is vital now more than ever. In these trying times, it’s good to know that there are people still leading the cheers, rallying the pep, and reminding us all to be aggressive, b-e aggressive.

Roland Pollard of Dallas, Texas is a former cheerleader who ingrained a love for the sport in his 4-year-old daughter, Jayden. Together, the two are putting their time inside to good use by showcasing their jaw-dropping routines on Instagram.

 

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A post shared by Roland Pollard (@rolandp90x) on

“When I found out I was having a daughter, this is exactly what I imagined,” Pollard said in an interview. “We do the routines for fun and share them with the world because I feel like not enough people give dads credit. I have never dropped her! She trusts me with her life, and that definitely adds to our bond.”

In one particularly intense video, Roland tosses Jayden up to execute an impressive 12-second handstand.

 

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In another jaw-dropping test of balance, the duo… well… let’s just say the “high five, lil mama” at the end here is completely justified.

 

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We’re floored, to say the least.

“Thank you all for watching these videos of me passing down knowledge to my daughter,” Roland writes in the caption. “She loves when I read her all of the comments and they make her feel like a little Star.”

Follow the Pollards on Instagram here to watch Jayden on her dad continue bringing the cheer!

Bored Professional Sportscasters Start Doing Play-By-Play of Everyday Life

PB&J Play-by-Play
(Twitter/johnlewinstuff)

The sports world is still coming to grips without having their regularly scheduled games. NBA players are shooting hoops with socks and a trashcan, baseball players are organizing sandlot games, and broadcasters? They haven’t stopped.

Of course, without games to call, sports announcers are doing play-by-play of, well, anything else. Rugby broadcaster Nick Heath was gaining some internet fame for his dramatic calls of everyday life.

Never before has a crosswalk been quite so exciting.

These are almost good enough to make me want to go back and watch him call actual rugby matches…almost.

UCLA and Red Sox sometimes play-by-play guy Josh Lewin is keeping his skills sharp in a similar fashion, only he’s calling the action of videos submitted to him by followers.

Lewin even started a YouTube channel to follow along with his play-by-play of anything.

And even sports broadcasting titan Joe Buck is getting into the action, doing play-by-play of stuff around his house:

He also put out the call for videos from followers that he can broadcast as well.

Sure, these announcers are bored, but guess what, so are we. And we will take any content we can get at this point, so if it’s a half-crazy sports broadcaster doing play-by-play of squirrels chasing each other through a park, sign me up.

Shaq Makes Surprise Appearance During First Grade Class’ Video Chat

Shaq Crashes Video Chat
(YouTube/Making Movies Jealous)

We’re entering a new era of remote learning for kids, which will be interesting, to say the least.

But this is a brave new world we’re living in, so you have to approach it with a measure of understanding and unpredictability. Like, maybe your first-grader will be in a video chat with his class, and the session will be interrupted by an NBA legend.

Yup, Shaquille O’Neal, decided to surprise everyone in the online classroom by popping in to say and encourage students to be good and listen to their parents.

It was a surprise even the teacher wasn’t expecting. And it’s not too long into the video before some of the parents realize what’s happening, and jump on the video to confirm it.

Apparently, Shaq is friends with the family of one student, so he decided to hop into the class to surprise everyone.

As kids transition to online learning, there will be hurdles for everyone to clear. But, hey, you might also run into a Shaq along the way.

But sadly he’s no longer growing out his hair.

NBA Star Starts #InHouseChallenge Using Socks And A Trashcan

#InHouseChallenge
(Twitter/TheTraeYoung)

While most of the country stays inside as much as possible, it can be tough to fight off cabin fever. It’s March, so you may have been like many, counting on a month of basketball. A moment of silence to those recovering from a vasectomy.

With all sports canceled, athletes are in the same spot as we are, looking for ways to pass the time. And Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young has found one way to channel his focus: keeping his shot in line.

The young sharpshooter is one of the best scorers in the NBA, so he’s been fine-tuning his skills in a manner that most sports fans can relate to by throwing rolled-up socks into a trash can. It’s part of his #InHouseChallenge, and his followers are answering the call.

His video has been viewed more than 2 million times and the best part about this challenge is it’s easy to replicate. Sure, you can’t pull up at the logo of an NBA court and drain an impossible three like Young, but you can sure as hell throw some socks into a trashcan. And, to be honest, his isn’t the most impressive one out there.

Even an NBA player could have trouble beating the backward shot from one college basketball player.

Some have put their own spin on it:

But it may be the grapes that take the top billing, at least for creativity:

But the point remains the same. Get creative, and find a way to keep yo’ skillz sharp. Or, in this case, just find a way to have some fun, by taking on your own version of the #InHouseChallenge.

Scott Van Pelt Pays Tribute to Students Whose Seasons Were Cut Short

SVP Honors Students Whose Season Ended
(Twitter/notthefakeSVP)

The abrupt cancellation of the winter championship season and the entire spring sports slate was especially impactful for all the players in college and high school who just saw their long sports careers end in a flash. For seniors who were playing their last year of the game, or their last year representing their school, the cancellation of their last games was unfair.

But, there’s a lot of unfair going on, as it’s part of the sacrifice we must all make in the interest of public health. Plenty of coaches are lamenting how it played out, none are arguing that it wasn’t the right idea. Any adult can rationally see how it’s absolutely, 100 percent the correct move, and still be disappointed at the effect it has on the players they’ve come to know as family.

ESPN Sportscenter anchor Scott Van Pelt feels their pain. There are much bigger concerns now nationally, but SVP did want to make some small gesture to recognize these athletes whose finish was out of their control.

Van Pelt put out the #SeniorNight call, and teams and coaches started sending in pictures and stories of their kids.

ESPN’s social media team was working on the best way to feature some of the stories on Sportscenter (especially since there’s little else to cover now). The NCAA will likely grant another season of eligibility for spring sports athletes, that’s little consolation for winter sports seniors and high school athletes.

No March Madness for Those Recovering From a Vasectomy

Vasectomy
(Getty/Diy13)

Even before we were all forced to sit at home, March was a popular time for vasectomies. March Madness, college basketball’s annual 64-team tournament, takes place during the latter half of the month, and it’s traditionally a time for men to get the birth control procedure and then recuperate with a hoops marathon.

But not this year.

Thanks to the COVID-19, the NCAA has canceled the tournament. And suddenly dads who’d saved up days for a vasectomy vacation full of single-elimination games are bereft.

It’s a sad time, so sad, that the Washington Post even wrote an article about it!

The article focuses on men who had their operation scheduled before the Coronavirus disrupted their – our, everyone’s – lives, and they’d meticulously planned it to line up with the tournament.

The Post has written before about the spike in vasectomies during the tournament, due to the fact that urologists typically suggest 48 hours of bed rest after the old snip-snip.

From the article:

“There are some men that specifically come in leading into March Madness because in their mind they say: ‘I’m going to spend the weekend watching basketball anyway. This will be great,’ ” said Brad Lerner, president of Chesapeake Urology and chief of urology at Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore. “We probably get more requests to do it around the March Madness weekends than around any other sporting event.”

Vasectomies double in March, but men also tend to schedule them for the Masters tournament and when football starts again in the fall.

So pour one out for those men, who will need to find other ways to occupy their post-vasectomy time. But consider them lucky. Non-essential surgeries and visits to the doctor’s office are being curtailed to stem the tide, and there will be plenty of parents out there stuck at home with nothing to do but Netflix and chill.

Without having had the benefit of their vasectomy, March Madness or not, they may be in for it come new year’s, if and when their social-distancing baby arrives!

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.

NBA Star Donates $100k to Increase COVID-19 Testing at Mayo Clinic

Karl-Anthony Towns Donates
(Getty/Hannah Foslien/Stringer)

We’ve seen some great things from professional athletes in recent days. Kevin Love was one of the first, offering $100,000 to help arena workers affected by the shutdown. Trevor Bauer started a GoFundMe to help workers at MLB stadiums. Countless other stars have followed suit to help out the people affected financially by the suspension of professional sports.

Minnesota Timberwolves superstar big man Karl-Anthony Towns is the latest to make a big gesture, although he went a slightly different direction with his. Towns announced over the weekend that he’ll be donating $100,000 to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to help with COVID-19 testing.

He shared an image from the Mayo Clinic with the quote “We’re all in this together, let’s protect ourselves and the community around us.” He also posted the following statement:

“The Mayo Clinic has begun rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19. My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response.

This is why I will be donating $100K to support these efforts. Thank you to the Mayo Clinic workers and all healthcare workers who are working around the clock to treat us. You are our heroes.

We’re all in this together, let’s protect ourselves and the community around us.

Towns is correct – the healthcare workers around the clock to care for coronavirus patients are the true heroes in this country right now. While schools shutter and jobs try to go remote, healthcare workers are going to feel the brunt of this as the number of cases increases, so it’s important to recognize and support ALL of those people.

In a press release about the gift, the Mayo Clinic said it was blown away by the gift and that it would help the hospital increase its testing from 200 per day to more than 1,000 per day.

If you’re looking for other heroes to celebrate during these trying times, give a strong shout-out to everyone who still has to show up at work to keep this country going, especially first responders, grocery store workers and truck drivers (and so many more).

It’s great to see the athletes that get it making a statement and setting a strong example with gifts like these. Now, it may be time for some of those billionaire owners to follow suit.

Here at The Dad, we hope you, your families, and communities stay safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the latest information, please utilize online resources from local public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, and the World Health Organization to remain as informed as possible.