The Rockets and Lakers meet on opening night of the NBA season, and Houston star James Harden expects to see the Kobe Bryant of old. Specifically the 20-year-old Kobe.

Bryant has logged lots of NBA miles, but perhaps the one upside to his injuries the past two seasons has been the chance for the rest of his body to, with apologies to Walt Frazier, recuperate and rejuvenate.

The new features in this year's 'Madden NFL' game include upgraded defensive gameplay, player tattoos and, apparently, 'Manning Face.'

That's right. Eli Manning's patented look of bewilderment, disappointment and confusion has made its way into the most popular football gaming franchise. Check it out:


Manning, and his brother Peyton, have been known to display the expression in particularly difficult moments during games. For a better idea of the phenomenon, check out this website dedicated exclusively to Manning Face.

The designers over at Madden did a pretty good job of representing Eli's look:


As nice as this is, perhaps the designers should have spent less time on sideline expressions and more time searching for gameplay glitches like this one.

Michael Jordan had a rather strong basketball career. He won six NBA championships and five MVP awards. His average of 30.1 points is the highest of all time.

Then again, Roger Federer could have an even better résumé for tennis. His 17 Grand Slam titles are the most in the Open Era and his 302 weeks ranked No. 1 in the world are most all time. From 2004-2008, Federer stood atop the rankings for a ridiculous 237 consecutive weeks and from 2005 Wimbledon to the 2010 Australian Open, he played in 18 of 19 Grand Slam finals.

And of course because both mega-athletes have relations with Nike -- Jordan Brand is a subsidy of Nike and Federer has his own apparel line, RF, within the company -- they can do absurd stuff together. Before Federer's opening match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday night, the duo announced a hybrid RF/Air Jordan tennis sneaker featuring both lines' logos.

"I don't want you to play in a shoe that doesn't feel well," Jordan said, according to ESPN.


Jordan also attended Federer's Tuesday match to see the new kicks in action after the two legends linked up Monday.

"He was one of the smoothest movers out there," Federer said. "Meeting him yesterday for the first time was a big deal for me. It was a sort of special last 24 hours plus."

Federer won his match over Australian Marinko Matosevic 6-3, 6-4, 7-6. Jordan, sitting in the same row as Vogue editor Anna Wintour, cheered for Federer and the newest addition to his sneaker closet.

"I know nothing about tennis," Jordan said. "He's a good athlete. I know he played basketball a bit."

Tennis History agrees. The Twitter account dug into the Federer Files to find a picture of a young Federer with Jordan pasted to his wall. Federer, who was born in Switzerland and grew up near the France and Germany borders, donned His Airness right next to Shaquille O'Neal.


"When I was younger, [basketball] was really big on the German TV stations," said Federer, who does not remember having a Jordan jersey. "I think every Sunday they had unbelievable big NBA highlights. That's where I saw his doing all his moves. I wasn't necessarily a Chicago Bulls fan or anything like that.

"He was my hero of all sports. That's what he was for me growing up. Besides [Stefan] Edberg and [Boris] Becker being my tennis idols, I had Jordan as my all sports idol."

Switzerland is not exactly a hotbed for basketball, but there are clear similarities between tennis and basketball, two sports that require lateral movement and stamina.

It is thus not surprising a tennis prodigy like Federer could have taken an interested in Jordan.

"The longevity, the way he made it look easy, his will to win, wanting to the best, delivering under pressure, being a superstar in a team sport, carrying his team for so many years -- there's so many things he did well and represented the game nicely," Federer said. "That's why he became my idol."

It is easy to forget despite Federer's elegant demeanor and family devotion, he is only 33. Jordan is 51. Federer was born in August 1981 just a few months before Jordan's freshmen season started at North Carolina.

In the present, Jordan is now the individual out of playing condition (although he can still shoot), while Federer still may have a few years left at the top level. It is Federer's time to offer some advice to MJ.

"I guess he wanted to know some things about tennis," Federer said about their Monday meeting. "How I prepare, how much I play, where I go next. You exchange each other's ideas about your respective sports and that's kind of what you talk about."

Federer's encounter with Jordan was enough of a deal to open an Instagram account: @rogerfederer. His only upload, a snap with Jordan, has already garnered over 32.4 thousand likes.

Coming off a runner-up performance at Wimbledon, Federer has a legitimate chance to contend for a title at this year's U.S. Open. The former World No. 1 has not won a U.S. Open since 2008 or a Grand Slam since 2012. Federer's next challenge will be Sam Groth, ranked No. 104, from Australia.

In terms of basketball, Federer embraces his umbrella of the non-contact atmosphere of tennis.

"They're all bigger and stronger than us," he said of basketball players. "I guess we need more endurance overall."

As for those interested in Federer's basketball skills, he lacks confidence. On the topic of his jump shot, Federer said:

"Not great. It's OK. Looks good, but results are not the best."

Don't worry, Roger. No one will judge you without watching Jordan hit a few serves.

CBS will make history this fall when it debuts the first nationally televised all-female sports show, "We Need To Talk."

The network on Wednesday announced the launch of "We Need to Talk" on CBS Sports Network. The show will feature four primary panelists -- Lesley Visser, Tracy Wolfson (below), Allie LaForce and Amy Trask -- and an entirely female group of producers and directors.

"This is nothing less than a cultural pivot point," Visser said in a statement. "There are many shows that have a woman on, but not one that has a table filled with women.

"We Need To Talk," which premieres 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 30, will also feature an impressive lineup of contributors: Andrea Kremer, Lisa Leslie, Dara Torres, Swin Cash, Summer Sanders, Laila Ali and Katrina Adams.

But while the primary panelists and main contributors are women, CBS Sports president David Berson said the show will have a wide audience.

“This show is intended for all sports fans, men, women everyone,” Berson told Newsday. “The gist of this show, it’s really a sports talk show that features women. It's not intended to be a women’s sports TV show. And will we discuss social issues and women's issues? Certainly when warranted, but that’s not the sole focus on the show.”

While the show has been praised for its mission, some commentators aren't happy with the program's name, which gives the vibe that this is a sports version of The View. The phrase is also known as code for trouble in a relationship, as articulated in this Seinfeld exchange:

Jerry: She wants to talk.

George: She doesn't want to talk -- she needs to talk.

Jerry: Nobody needs to talk.

Here's some early feedback to the name on Twitter:




If this show can cultivate some compelling and insightful conversation, it would be a welcome addition to a sports TV lineup already heavy with chatter. But there is so much volume, bombast and outrage -- often contrived -- on these programs. Whatever issues its name might have, 'We Need To Talk' seems to be promising the opposite. As Visser put it to USA Today, "My dream of the show is the discussion of it."

The show's placement on CBS Sports Network should also give it a chance to grow without the threat of a quick cancellation if initial ratings or reviews aren't favorable. Although CBS Sports Network has bulked up its lineup in the past year with additions of Jim Rome, Doug Gottlieb and more college football game coverage, including this Saturday's Ohio State-Navy matchup, it is still in a building phase.

In Derek Jeter's final season, tributes and gifts have reached ridiculous proportions. There is the New Jersey farm that carved a five-acre corn maze in Jeter's likeness. In Texas, George W. Bush gave him a personal painting. Former teammate Robinson Cano spent $34,000 on watch.

One fan in Kansas City might have taken this to a whole other level of creativity (or creepiness, depending on your perspective). At Monday night's Yankees-Royals game, this fan displayed a sign with Jeter playing the role of Mona Lisa.

The artistic concoction depicts Jeter's face, along with a bat and glove, on Leonardo da Vinci's classic portrait. A cameramen for Fox Sports Kansas City documented this in the top of the sixth inning:


Notice the sign uses the word "masterpiece" to describe Jeter. This was in Kansas City. K.C. Masterpiece. Oh, the delicious wit.

Perhaps it is something about the venue. Jeter, who had two RBI in the Yankees' 5-1 win, had been greeted by two Royals fans wearing cat-print tank tops and holding signs that saluted him as "One Classy Cat" in June.

Anyone else look at the Jeter-Mona Lisa mashup and think of the botched restoration of the ecce homo fresco of Jesus?

Willie McGinest played in four Super Bowls, winning three, as a linebacker with New England, so his assessment might be as good as any about how Bill Belichick would handle it if Johnny Manziel were on the Patriots:

McGinest spoke at the Harold & Carole Pump Foundation's 14th annual celebrity dinner in Century City, California.

During the first season of his highly anticipated Cleveland homecoming, LeBron James will bring a familiar package with him to the Quicken Loans Arena.

That includes the spectacular dunks, the no-look dishes and, apparently, the chalk toss.

The four-time NBA MVP posted a video to Instagram suggesting that he'll be doing his customary pregame celebration before home games of the 2014-2014 season.

"I swear I can't wait for this moment again!! #TheLand #PowderFillsTheRoom #StriveForGreatness"

James abruptly stopped doing the chalk toss during the 2011 playoffs and took a two-year hiatus before bringing it back last season. Since his first stint in Cleveland, the NBA has cracked down on pregame rituals, leading to some speculation about whether James would continue with the toss.

The 29-year-old James has a keen understanding of what supporters want to see, and that was the reason he gave for bringing back the ritual last season.

"It's just me," James said in October 2013. "I love my fans and they wanted it back. They wanted me to do it, so it's back."

Still, last season James didn't do the powder toss every night, and it was unclear if he would resume the ritual upon his return to northeast Ohio. He appears to have answered that question with his Instagram video.

While the powder toss is perhaps James' most celebrated pregame routine, it certainly isn't the only one he's performed. During his Cleveland days he and his teammates had some pretty intricate pregame rituals, like this one:

Unfortunately, something like this would almost certainly be penalized under the NBA's current regulations.

Sunday's 6.0 earthquake in Napa, which was the strongest to hit the San Francisco Bay Area since 1989, triggered fires from gas leaks, hospitalized dozens and buckled roads.

The damage to one road in Napa managed to create what some local residents saw as an impromptu skateboard ramp, providing some comic relief on a grim day.

NBC Bay Area photographer Jeremy Carroll captured the scene, and news spread quickly after his KNTV colleague Vicky Nguyen tweeted this photo:


Here is video of the skateboarding action:

The skateboarding generated supportive response on Twitter:





The Madden Curse has been well-documented in recent years, but perhaps not to the extent as this breakdown from Shirts.com. Since 1999, the NFL player gracing the cover of the Madden NFL video game by EA Sports has run into trouble that season, most notably with injuries.

Madden 15 is scheduled for release Tuesday, and cornerback Richard Sherman is the featured player after helping the Seahawks win the Super Bowl. Sherman is the second Seattle player to earn this honor.

Running back Shaun Alexander was selected after he helped the Seahawks reach the Super Bowl in his MVP season of 2005. After making the Madden cover, Alexander hurt his foot in 2006 and never regained his form, which provided more fodder for Curse believers.

The Milwaukee Brewers' name is a tribute to those who make beer. The team plays at Miller Park, a stadium sponsored by a brewing company. Until 1978, the team used "Beer Barrel Man" as its mascot.

Beer is not treated lightly in Milwaukee.

During the Brewers-Blue Jays game on Wednesday evening, a fan lost about three-fourths of his beer attempting to snag a foul ball. He failed to attain the souvenir and left himself covered in his own drink.

Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasters Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder could not stand to watch this Milwaukee man get shortchanged on his hefty ballpark beer purchase. After discussing his plight on the TV call, the broadcasters pitched in to get the fan, who, remember, did not actually catch the foul ball, a full beer.

The replacement beer came in a tall glass, upscale by MLB ballparks standards.

According to the broadcast, Anderson and Schroeder used Schroeder's brother to help make the transport. Schroeder, who is referred to by his nickname, "Rock," in the clip, played catcher for the Brewers and Angels from 1983-1990. He was behind the plate for the only no-hitter in Brewers' history, an April 15 outing from Juan Nieves.

The Brewers lost the game 9-5, so it does not appear the good karma of Anderson and Schroeder had an effect on the game.

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