George Lopez is well aware that the Los Angeles Lakers won't be raising a championship banner after this season. But he knows Kobe Bryant is to thank for five of them already raised to the rafters.

That's why Lopez thinks this season is an important opportunity to celebrate Bryant while he's still on the court. Although the comedian knows Bryant's playing days aren't over, he feels fans should take time to appreciate one of the franchise's most important players:

His fate was changing every day, diagnosed by unknown sources. As the unending subject of media scrutiny, Kevin Love was, as he describes it, "caught in NBA purgatory."

So he did the only thing he could: He worked out. And he watched TV and movies.

A lot of TV and movies.

"I tore through more than 40 of the IMDB Top 250. That’s not even counting the TV marathons," Love writes in a column for The Players' Tribune. "I did every single episode of Seinfeld (holds up), Curb Your Enthusiasm (the best), Mad Men and Game of Thrones (twice)."

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Timberwolves were trying to trade Love in exchange for some valuable assets. General manager Flip Saunders eventually honed in on Cleveland as a destination, where Love could join forces with LeBron James. The Timberwolves, in return, could get the No. 1 pick from the NBA draft in Andrew Wiggins.

But that trade was slow-developing, with a lot of media reports coming over the wire without much concrete information. Love said that while the process was going on, he was only trying to keep his sanity.

In his column, he also acknowledges that Wiggins was suffering through the same thing.

The column also serves as a sort-of goodbye to Minnesota -- a courtesy Love felt he wasn't able to give once the actual trade was executed. Love takes ownership for being immature at times and not being the best player he could be for Minnesota, but he's happy with his decision.

"My decision," Love writes, "was about wanting to win."

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To demonstrate that words can mean pretty much whatever you want, Jimbo Fisher's son dressed as Jameis Winston for his school's "Superhero Day."

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I guess. Which is to say that, if your dad won a national championship with a certain star quarterback, then you're probably going to like that quarterback, even if he possess almost none of the traits common among superheroes or even run-of-the-mill role models.

According to Jimbo Fisher's wife, their son, Trey, wore a genuine Winston jersey to school on Thursday. And he looks super tough, too, in an adorable, pre-pubescent way.


Draped in Winston's jersey, young Trey then took off for school on his fancy scooter, which has a nifty basket to carry his most essential school supplies:


Really sweet family, those Fishers. Just humble folks who raise their kids right.

When you hire Bruce Pearl, you get more than a basketball coach -- you also get a very savvy marketer. We saw this right off the bat at Tennessee, where Pearl embraced an audacious orange blazer as his game-day outfit.

Now, we're seeing his relentless enthusiasm in full force as he tries to stir interest in the basketball program at Auburn.

Pearl has already earned the good graces of some fans by donating his body to a charity dunk tank last spring.

With the college basketball season on the horizon, Pearl made another splashy appearance, bursting into an Auburn lecture hall and unleashing a pep band and cheerleading squad to get students excited about the season hype event dubbed the "Pearl Jam."

Auburn's basketball program isn't just suffering from the lack of a winning tradition, it's also standing in the long shadow of the school's football team, which is the biggest show in town.

Pearl knows how to win basketball games, but he understands that a truly successful program needs a passionate fan base -- one that will appeal to recruits and create a better home-court advantage.

"Together we’re trying to do great things,” Pearl says to the classroom.

Fair enough, but Pearl's a one-man show on his own.

Major League Baseball salaries have soared since 1976, with the average earnings growing by 2,000 percent.

In the minor leagues, though, it's a much different story. Salaries have increased by just 75 percent during that same span of time -- compared to economic inflation of 400 percent.

The growth has been so stagnant that many minor leaguers now make less than minimum wage.

That's the argument in a new lawsuit filed on behalf of minor leaguers, anyway. According to a report from the Toronto Star, 32 former players have combined on a lawsuit that could destroy the current minor league salary system.

The lawsuit contends that while MLB is a $9 billion industry, only chump change is passed down to the minor leagues, where professional clubs cultivate their talent.

Players can work up to 60 or 70 hours a week during the regular season, but their salaries are paltry: Just $6,250 per season for the average single-A salary, with some players signing for less than $5,000.

That's about three to five times less than basketball players make in the NBA's D-League. In the NHL's minor leagues, the pay is even better -- and comes with benefits.

NHL minor leagues are unionized, which has helped them establish better income opportunities for their players. In minor league baseball, no such union exists.

Not yet, anyway.

The lawsuit contends that baseball preys upon players that are so determined to chase a dream that they take whatever they can get -- even if their earnings put them well below the poverty line.

Only 10 percent of the 6,000 minor league players ever make it to the majors, where the minimum salary is $500,000. But far fewer stick around long enough to build a major league career. If the lawsuit has its way, the majority that never reaches baseball's biggest stage will still walk away with something to show for their efforts.

The latest episode of HBO's Real Sports also looks into this issue. Here's a snippet:

One week he's sparring with Floyd Mayweather and the next he's playing in a men's adult league hockey game. Say this about Justin Bieber: At least he's staying active while he gets his career back on track.

The 20-year-old singer posted a video to his Instagram of him on the ice at the Los Angeles Kings Valley Ice Center. In the clip, Bieber takes the puck on a breakaway, pulls of a nice move and scores top shelf. Check it out:


A video posted by Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) on

Bieber included a caption ("My dangles were unreal did u see that shot I'm number 20") in addition to some less-than-humble hashtags (#younggretzky #iceicebaby #uthoughtthiswasagame #iknewistillhadit).

All jokes aside, Bieber makes a strong move in this video and scores a nice goal. But who knows how long the camera was on before he made this play.

The Canadian-born Bieber grew up playing hockey and, as a youngster, had dreams of going pro. While he's taken a different part to stardom, he still gets to play now and then. He was even offered a pro contract by the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL.

At least in the video Bieber posted to Instagram he's wearing proper hockey equipment. In February he showed up to an Atlanta-area men's hockey game wearing skinny jeans and a gold chain.

Bieber, who was called "crazy athletic" by former welterweight boxing champion Andre Berto, also enjoys playing pickup basketball and skating.

As much as Bieber loves hockey, the sport hasn't shown him the same respect recently. After the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2013 Bieber was called out for stepping on the team's logo in the locker room:


Earlier this year Bieber was the subject of a humorous billboard that was displayed in advance of the contest between the United States and Canada squared in the Sochi Olympics.


Bieber himself didn't find the billboard all that funny:


Hunter Pence, the Giants' scooter-riding, Daniel Bryan-quoting right fielder, had a monster Game 1 against the Royals, reaching base four times and crushing a two-run home run in the first inning.

And somehow, Pence might have saved his most memorable performance for after the game.

In a postgame chat with Fox's Erin Andrews that will go down as one of the more awkward World Series interviews in recent memory, Pence lived up to his quirky reputation.

Pence starts the interview by correcting Andrews, then apologizes, in this cringe-worthy exchange:

Andrews, no stranger to postgame interviews that don't go according to script, handled things well by laughing it off. But, fairly or not, she still took lots of criticism on Twitter following the exchange:







Hopefully, for Andrews' sake, things go smoother for her for the duration of the Series. And, if the Giants do prevail, maybe she can go for round two with Buster Posey's son.

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Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder is a typical Bears fan: He's tired of Jay Cutler and wants a new quarterback.

Unlike most fans, though, Vedder has inquired about the availability of a possible replacement -- one Chicago fans know all too well.

In Milwaukee for a show at the Bradley Center, Vedder allegedly got to meet and hang out with Packers quarterback Aaaron Rodgers before his concert. Allegedly a huge fan of Rodgers, Vedder shared one of their exchanges at his show later that night:


Things only got worse for the Bears, as Vedder went on to don a Packers jersey in the middle of the show.


Vedder's saving grace was refusing to wear a foam cheese hat that was tossed onto the stage.

Still, not a great day to be Jay Cutler. At least it's familiarity territory for him.

In baseball, the clubhouse is a volatile space. When filled with the right influences, it can foster team chemistry and individual focus.

But the presence of bad influences can quickly turn a locker room septic. A lot of times, that toxic element is a person: Selfish players, combative players, players who don't care about winning.

But if you're the 2014 Kansas City Royals, your locker room's greatest threat is an iPad game.

It sounds too perfect for a group of young, fun-loving guys that play a brand of baseball perfected in video games, but it's true: Earlier this season, the Royals' playoff dreams were almost dashed because too many players couldn't quit playing Clash of Clans.

Clash of Clans is an animated war game that in which players can team up and play with one another in a community-like setting. Apparently, the game was a daily routine for Lorenzo Cain, Danny Valencia and Jarrod Dyson. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas also played intermittently, according to The Kansas City Star.

The game became so engrained in the Royals clubhouse that terms and phrases entered the team's lexicon, with players discussing the strengths of their respective clans and going back and forth over possible trades of various in-game assets.

Coaches were allegedly frustrated with the team, urging players to focus on baseball as the Royals' division lead slipped away in July. It wasn't until newly acquired veteran Raul Ibañez suggested a players-only meeting.

In that meeting, Ibañez told players the clubhouse was the most talented he'd ever been around, but that each individual needed to take on more personal accountability.

Coming out of that meeting, players began tapering off their gaming time and focused instead on watching video of pitchers to prep for games. Although they didn't capture the division, the Royals finished hot and went 8-0 from the wild-card round into the World Series.

The moral of the story: Don't play 'Clash of Clans.'

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If Darnell Dockett had suited up for Sunday's game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders, he would have gotten a 15-yard penalty for taunting.

Instead the injured defensive end was on the sidelines, and he decided to use his down time to troll the fans in the stands behind him.

As it became clear that his Cardinals would beat the Raiders and drop Oakland to 0-6, Dockett scribbled a stinging message on a whiteboard and showed it to fans:



After the game, Dockett explained his actions on Twitter (note: he uses an expletive in his first tweet):



Dockett told ESPN that after he held up the sign, more objects were thrown his way by the notoriously rowdy Raiders fans.

Raiders fans join a long list of people and groups that Dockett has taunted, including Cincinnati Bengals backup quarterback A.J. McCarron, Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler and PETA.

While Dockett was placed on injured reserve after tearing his ACL at practice in August, the Cardinals are off to one of their best starts in recent memory. After beating Oakland, Arizona is 5-1 and all alone in first place in the NFC West.

With the Jacksonville Jaguars' victory over the Cleveland Browns, the Raiders are now the only winless team in the NFL.

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