The Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquaio fight on May 2 is getting so much buzz that even at seemingly unrelated functions, it becomes a point of conversation. As the Dodgers Foundation hosted its Blue Diamond fashion show Thursday with the players wearing the Ted Baker line, manager Don Mattingly gave an enthusiastic response when asked about the upcoming match.

Former NFL running back Michael Pittman visits the barbershop on this episode of The Blade, and the crew wants to know his thoughts about Warren Sapp. Pittman and Sapp were teammates for two seasons with the Buccaneers, including a Super Bowl championship in the 2002 season. (Pittman rushed for 124 yards in the Super Bowl against the Raiders.)

Complications from a foot injury forced Kevin Durant to sit out the end of the NBA's regular season. Meanwhile, he had to watch his Oklahoma City Thunder come up one win short of making the NBA playoffs.

Durant had a lot of praise to dish out for his team, particularly star teammate Russell Westbrook. Durant told reporters he admired all the growth Westbrook showed, in terms of leadership and athletic dominance, as the Thunder chased a playoff spot without Durant's help.

It was a good run, even if the team was a little overmatched. At any rate, the NBA playoffs will begin this weekend. And they will do so with a notable absence among its spectators.


Well then.

It's possible Durant is just putting on a front -- after all, it's strange that a global basketball superstar would ignore the two months of playoff basketball that was about to commence in his own league. Durant's still a basketball player who loves the game and has friends playing for other teams.

Even if the Thunder had made it, the team would have been facing a buzzsaw in the first round, matched up with the Golden State Warriors -- a team that only turned in the 10th-best regular season in NBA history. Oklahoma City was going down in flames before May Day, it was just a matter of when.

But give Durant some credit for sticking by his team as he sat idly by. Westbrook's ascension as an MVP candidate could have been a source of friction between the two stars, but Durant -- at least outwardly -- couldn't be any happier. He sounds eager to get back with the team and work toward a title next season.

In the meantime, he can watch hockey.

Enough already with all the strategy talk -- styles, power, countering -- about the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight. Let's discuss some topics that have some broader appeal. Like, who is Mayweather's favorite Ninja Turtle? What's his favorite cartoon? Favorite food? To tackle this hard-hitting journalism assignment, ThePostGame was fortunate enough to dispatch Famous Johnson, a 7-year-old who trains at Mayweather's Las Vegas gym, and he also gets an insightful response about how boxing is a job for the champ.

Even casual observers of college basketball have noticed a decline in the quality of play in recent years, and Len Elmore says a key factor has been the declining influence of high school coaches.

"High school coaches have been obscured by the travel team coaches," said Elmore, the former Maryland star who became a broadcaster and lawyer after his NBA career. "More games are played on travel teams many times than there are in high school. High school is usually where the coaches will drill you on fundamentals and will try to keep you immersed in skills of the game. That gap creates a huge problem once you get into the college game."

Here's more analysis from Leonard at the IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily in Los Angeles where he received the Champions Award for being a pioneer and innovator in the industry:

For the second straight year, the most popular sports team in the nation's second largest market is unavailable on television to most fans. The Los Angeles Dodgers games are not available to 70 percent of the market due to a dispute between Time Warner and other cable operators over the monthly pricing of the product.

SportsNet LA is a cable channel owned by Time Warner and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Dodger games are the only content it provides. Time Warner purchased the rights to these games in a $8.35 billion, 25-year deal, but its inability to make a deal with networks like DirecTV makes that purchase a massive money loser.

How did this happen, and why is a self-destructive course of business being allowed to continue? Time Warner overestimated the willingness of Dodger fans to pressure the other cable operators into carrying the games. They also were caught in the backwash of a rebellion against the prices and services of cable television. Many consumers are opting out of cable subscriptions in favor of using Netflix or Hulu as their platforms. Other consumers are opting for "skinny" packages of television channels. DirecTV, with 1.2 million subscribers in Southern California, reports that they have only lost 2,000 subscribers from the controversy.

Time Warner reportedly is asking a $4.99 monthly charge per home, which would put SportsNet LA in the top three or four priced regional networks in the country. But, unlike the other networks, the only games available are Dodger baseball games. Could there be some form of MLB intervention or binding arbitration to settle the dispute? The problem is that both Direct TV and Time Warner are in the midst of being purchased and the current executives must feel that they cannot make concessions until the ultimate management teams arrive.

In 2013 the average viewership per Dodger game broadcast was 228,000. Last year, with only TW offering the games, viewership dropped to roughly 56,000 fans.

Southern California has some 15 million people who are potential customers. The Dodgers have always have had the deepest fan base in Southern California. They marketed Southern California like it was a small town in 1958 when they arrived. They had special nights for Little League, Rotary, and hundreds of organizations. They sold the concept of "going to a Dodger game," not who they were playing or who was pitching. Now they risk long term maintenance of that base.

The lack of television has not affected attendance. The Dodgers drew 3.8 million fans last year and sold more than three million tickets this season prior to the first game. But the presumption has always been that television revenue would continually rise. The "loss leader" aspect of bidding on rights for programming as a showcase for promoting Monday through Friday primetime viewing has held firm. The stalemate in Los Angeles is a vivid example of where a rights purchase is not yielding results. For the future of sports television economics, hopefully this will be a cautionary tale of the necessity to line up buyers prior to a risky expenditure on rights fees and not a harbinger of things to come.

Count Kobe Bryant as a Russell Westbrook fan. The Lakers superstar sees a lot of his own qualities in Oklahoma City's star point guard, and their tendency toward ruthless competition ranks at the top of that list. As it turns out, they also talk a similar game. With that in mind, The Rundown plays a fun game of quote-matching trivia. Can you tell the difference between the two NBA stars?

Shove your upper body inside an inflatable plastic ball, toss a soccer ball on the ground and get ready for some physical contact. That's knockerball in a nutshell, and it's exploded in popularity during the past year. But video of Cam Newton playing the game -- and using the inflatable padding to launch himself into an opponent -- raises a worthy question: Is this really smart behavior on the part of Carolina's franchise quarterback? The Rundown debates.

As an example of how much the sports media landscape has shifted, veteran Sports Illustrated reporter Peter King cited the annual NFL draft combine in Indianapolis. In 2000, King said, he was one of 15 media members covering it. This year, he was one of 1,017.

"So you have to basically say: 'OK, how can I be different? How can my voice be heard? What can I do that's going to make any sort of difference in this cacophony of crapola that is out there in the media these days?'" King said Thursday. "That becomes a challenge."

King was part of a media panel at the IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily in Los Angeles. Here are some highlights from the other panelists:

** Former ESPN executive editor John Walsh said the current media era is the greatest since invention of the Gutenberg Press. But he added that it's also premature to reach a conclusion on what social media means.

"You look at Twitter and you say: Well, is it promotion? Is it advertising? Is it content? Is it news breaking? It's defining itself over a period of time," Walsh said. "Future historians will look back and take a real look and say: 'This is what social media meant to this era of American media.' Right now, it's too early to judge.

"Just like on breaking news stories, when something breaks, it's too early to make judgments, and yet the American media-consuming public want to have the answer to whatever questions breaking news puts forth for them. Those answers, they don't come for sometimes days, sometimes weeks, sometimes months. It'll be a long time before we really feel and figure out what social meant to this era of American media."

He also said the quality of work counts.

"People and audiences, especially sports audiences, recognize quality," he said.

** Pam Oliver of Fox was asked about her statement in Essence magazine: "It's not difficult to notice that the new on-air people there are all young, blond and 'hot.'"

Oliver told the panel that her comment was unfair without greater context.

"I feel there are very capable women out there who just happen to be drop-dead gorgeous," she said. "I'm not hating against blondes or anything like that.

"I don't want to insult anyone. Just turn on the television. You see kind of what I'm talking about. I didn't want to imply that these women are incapable of the jobs they're handed. But it doesn't benefit any network or media outlet to put somebody in a position -- Fox, ABC, NBC, ESPN -- you don't put anybody in a prime position if you don't feel like they can handle the job."

** Veteran columnist Jason Whitlock talked about plans for his ESPN site, The Undefeated, which launches this summer.

"We hope that it's going to be the industry leader in race and culture through the lens of sports," Whitlock said. "We want to be ahead of the conversation and more focused on what's the truth, what's provable, rather than just writing what's popular at the moment that will get you a lot of retweets on Twitter."

For a more in-depth conversation with Whitlock, check out this video interview.

Although he was careful to say that the NHL hasn't even decided on whether it intends to expand, league deputy commissioner Bill Daly spoke in detail about the possibility of having a franchise in Las Vegas.

As Daly explained to the attendees Wednesday at the IMG World Congress of Sports presented by SportsBusiness Journal/Daily in Los Angeles, a group headed by billionaire business Bill Foley has been authorized to mount a season-ticket campaign. It has a goal of reaching 10,000 commitments without a guarantee of actually landing an NHL franchise.

"The response in Las Vegas has been very impressive and certainly suggests that there is an ability to support a professional sports franchise and particularly an NHL franchise at this point in time," Daly said while speaking on a panel with other sports business insiders. "We have a Board of Governors meeting coming up in June. We'll obviously report on the results of the Las Vegas ticket drive and we'll have a discussion with our ownership as to whether they want to entertain the concept of expansion; they haven't made that decision yet. And if they want to entertain the concept of expansion, how they want to do it."

But Daly was more emphatic that if the Las Vegas project comes to fruition, it would be a new franchise, not an existing team moving there. The NHL hasn't added teams since the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets began playing in the 2000-01 season. The Atlanta Thrashers became the new Winnipeg Jets in 2011.

"I don't expect any re-location in our league," he said. "We went through a period a couple of years ago in and around the work stoppage where we had some situations, which were unstable in our league. Quite frankly, with new ownership we've been able to generate in the National Hockey League, we've never been more stable, certainly in my 18 years at the league, but probably in its history. We're really comfortable with where we are from a franchise standpoint, so if expansion comes, I think it would come in the form of expansion."

The Vegas plan includes a 20,000-seat arena, to be built between New York-New York and the Monte Carlo, to be open in time to have a team for the 2016-17 season.

Flames president Brian Burke had a more cautious outlook, citing how the NBA, NFL and MLB haven't actively pursued Las Vegas as a potential franchise city. (The Oakland A's once played some home games there on an emergency basis when their home stadium needed to be repaired.)

"There's a reason for that," Burke said of the other leagues not being there. "No one's believed in the financial base of the market, and no one's believed that transitory people become fans and buy tickets. This is a way to test-drive the market without committing to it, so I think it's a sensible approach. I'm not sure if it works or not, but fortunately that's way above my pay grade. I would like another team in the West, I can tell you that."

NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum isn't convinced that Las Vegas can work as a franchise city, even though the league has held its All-Star Game there in 2007.

"There's so many opportunities for, and competition for, entertainment dollars there that it's just a crowded marketplace," Tatum said.

Oliver Luck, the NCAA executive vice president of regulatory affairs, drew upon his experience working in MLS to explain why Las Vegas could succeed.

"I compare it to Orlando, which was always accused of being a transient market, a service economy, etc.," Luck said. "And the MLS franchise there is doing gangbusters. I think it can work."

Outside of the Las Vegas question, if the NHL does decide to expand, a second team in the Toronto market is a bad idea, according to Burke, who spent more than four years as Maple Leafs president. He said in general sharing a market is a detriment, regardless of size.

"You've got the Chicago White Sox and the Cubs in a huge market, a 10-million market, and one of them suffers unless they're in first place," Burke said. "I don't see a second team working in Toronto or any other Canadian market for that matter."

Will Allen was a defensive stalwart for 12 years. The cornerback accumulated 525 tackles and 15 interceptions in a dozen NFL seasons for the Giants, Dolphins and Patriots. At his peak, Allen signed a four-year $12 million contract with the Dolphins in 2006 that led to a two-year $16.2 million extension with $10 million guaranteed.

On Monday, Allen's defense was weak and his wallet is in debt. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged Allen, 36, and business partner Susan Daub, 54, with fraud. A Boston federal judge has frozen Allen and Daub's assets, as the two appear to have operated a Ponzi scheme.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Allen and Daub advertised their business, Capital Financial Partners, as a means of providing athletes up to $75,000 in loans during the off-season or early in the season, when contracts paychecks are lower. Investors could receive up to 18 percent in interest from clients in the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB.

At least 40 investors provided Capital Financial Partners with $31 million. Allen and Daub used some of that money for personal expenses, which included payments at pawn shops, casinos and nightclubs. Only $18 million were loaned to athletes.Only $18 million were loaned to athletes.

Perhaps Allen and Daub could have continued to get off on their Ponzi scheme had it not been for a conflict brought about by Jack Johnson of the NHL's Columbus Blue Jackets. Johnson, a former U.S. Olympian, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. As early as the 2012 NHL lockout, Johnson started doing business with Allen.

As part of Allen's lawsuit against Johnson last year, Allen was deposed in Palm Beach County, as the former Dolphin lives in Davie, Fla. According to the Palm Beach Post, Allen admitted to loaning Johnson as much as $1.4 million a month at a 12 percent interest rate, an illegal rate in Florida. As the case worked its way up to the SEC, Allen claimed to have loaned as much as $3.4 million to Johnson, although Allen told investors this total was $5.6 million.

The Wall Street Journal report claims at least 24 investors funded $4 million of a $5.65 million loan in April and May 2014, which runs parallel with the Johnson anecdote. The SEC found a $3.4 million loan was made to the unnamed NHL player (who, according to the Palm Beach Post story, is likely Johnson).

Way back in November, Johnson said of his bankruptcy, "I'd say I picked the wrong people who led me down the wrong path." The Columbus Dispatch reported those people were Johnson's parents. Now, those people may be Will Allen and Susan Daub.

Allen, a former First-Team All-Big East defensive back at Syracuse, does not exactly have a clean record. Allen was charged with a DUI in Miami Beach in February 2010 during his tenure with the Dolphins.

Now, he can add Ponzi scheme to that record.

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