Kevin Love is one of the NBA's best passing big men. In particular, he is known for his outlet passes that trigger fast breaks.

Love started different sort of scoring play to celebrate the start of the holiday season in early December. He made a surprise visit to Scranton Elementary School in Cleveland to help Dick's Sporting Goods launch its #HolidayHoops.

Dick's is giving basketball hoops to two organizations every day in December, and Scranton Elementary was the first.


How is @kevinlove spreading love on #GivingTuesday? By teaming up w/ @dickssportinggoods launch #HolidayHoops!

A video posted by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

In advance of the giveaways, Dick's took a novel approach of piquing the public curiosity by placing hoops in various spots in New York, Los Angeles and Cleveland. Here's what happened:



Andrew Luck is so good that the third-year Indianapolis Colts quarterback has developed a unique weapon that is invisible to the fans watching his games on television.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed 12 defenders who have recorded a sack or a knockdown of Luck, and each said the Pro Bowler gave them some sort of congratulatory message after the hit.

Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Nolan Carroll told the Journal that it is somewhat unnerving to hear a compliment from a quarterback, because that means he wasn't rattled by the hit.

“You know if you hear a quarterback get mad, you are in his head,” Carroll told the Journal. “With Luck, you thought you hurt the guy, you hear 'good job' and you just say ‘aw, man.'"

The Journal's Kevin Clark writes that Luck will often respond to a bone-shattering hit with a positive response like "great hit" or "good tackle." Sometimes Luck will even throw in the nickname of the defender, as he did when he was taken down by Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs during a recent game.

"Great hit, Sizzle," Luck says at the 40-second mark of this video:

Most quarterbacks either remain silent or complain to the referee about the nature of the hit.

"In all the years I’ve played football I have never heard anything like it,” Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan told Clark. "Nothing even close."

Luck's tactics are so unusual that some players suggested his niceness is strategic; that's he congratulating opponents as a way of getting in their heads. But Luck's father, former NFL quarterback Oliver, says Andrew's sportsmanship is reflective of the way he was raised.

"My wife and I raised all four of our kids with appropriate values, with respect for other people and to be kind and generous and I guess that carried over to the football field," the elder Luck told the Journal.

Of course, Luck isn't the first quarterback to have nice words for his opponents. As evidenced by this game against the Chicago Bears in 2011, Tim Tebow also sung the praises of defenders after they took him down.

The only minor difference between Luck and Tebow is that Luck is "talking the talk" and "walking the walk." Considered by some to be an MVP candidate this season, Luck leads all passers with 4,492 yards through the air and 38 touchdowns. His Colts clinched the AFC South division title Sunday title with a victory over the Houston Texans.

Among the numerous benefits of playing alongside Tom Brady, perhaps most overlooked is the opportunity to rack up a closetful of UGG boots.

The New England Patriots star quarterback is one of the company's most visible endorsers, and he has shouldered the considerable challenge of singlehandedly changing the image of the boots.

As part of his effort to get more men wearing the brand, Brady has made it somewhat of a tradition to give his teammates UGGs each year for Christmas. In the first year of the partnership Brady, who was introduced to the boots by his three sisters, gave each of his lineman a pair.

The next year, Brady gave everyone on his team a pair.



While Brady admits his teammates teased him when he initially signed the deal, after they received their first pair their opinion quickly changed.

"Once they tried them on, any thoughts of jokes stopped," Brady told the Wall Street Journal in 2011. "The warm boots are perfect during the cold New England winters."

Slowly but surely, through generous gifts like these and commercials like the one below, Brady is shifting the perception of the Australian brand.


The gifts keep flowing in for Devon Still and his inspirational daughter Leah, who continues her battle against pediatric cancer.

On top of a number of donations the father and her daughter have received during the NFL season are two jackets donated by North Face, with the phrases "Leah Strong" and "Still Strong" stitched into the arms.


Leah Still's inspirational story has drawn attention across the country this year. Her father, who was cut earlier this season by the Cincinnati Bengals only to be brought back -- in part so his daughter had access to the NFL's excellent insurance -- has used social media to keep fans and supporters updated on Leah's battle.

Not long after posting photos of the North Face jackets, Devon Still also shared a Christmas picture he took with his daughter:


She brings out the smile in me #Christmas2014

A photo posted by Devon Still (@man_of_still75) on

Leah's cancer treatments are done for the moment, but there is no word yet on how the treatments have impacted her condition.

With a heartwarming act of kindness before a recent game, Kevin Durant proved once again he is one of the most charitable and self-aware superstars alive.

Before his Oklahoma City Thunder squared off against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, the 2014 MVP was introduced to 13-year-old Anthony Cupp. An eighth-grader from outside Detroit, Anthony had mowed lawns in his neighborhood to earn enough money to buy a pair of Durant's signature shoes. But shortly after purchasing the sneakers, Cupp was jumped by some older kids and had to hand over his prized kicks.

"It was horrifying," Anthony's mother, Janiesa, told reporters. "He's such a good kid. All the teachers tell me what a good kid he is in a school that struggles with discipline. What he worked so hard for was stolen for him. It was heartbreaking."

Janiesa herself has faced adversity recently. She recently had a tumor removed and is still undergoing therapy.

The Pistons heard about Anthony's misfortune and told Durant. Before the teams' matchup Sunday, Durant invited Anthony on to the floor and spoke with him. Then Durant gave the youngster two pairs of shoes -- one in Anthony's size and one in Durant's size, signed by the man himself. Durant also gave Anthony a jacket and a backpack.


"We got such a big platform, man, and kids look up to us," Durant said of meeting Anthony. "To set a good example, we just have to show them that we're human, too. They look at us as superheroes sometimes. So just to sit and talk to them, ask them how their day went, ask them where they're from, make them feel like they are where they belong. We may seem untouchable, but we aren't. That's the biggest thing I wanted to show him. I'm a human just like you. I go through things just like you. Even though I play in the NBA, I'm here for you."

This is just Durant's latest good deed. The 26-year-old has done everything from handing out free ice cream to donating $1 million to disaster relief in the Oklahoma City area.

After meeting Anthony, Durant proceeded to put on a show. He led all scorers with 28 points on 10-of-19 shooting and propelled the Thunder to a 96-94 victory.

The North Carolina Tar Heels and Detroit Lions are so synonymous with blue that they have specific names for their shade. The Tar Heels boast their "Carolina blue," while the Lions wear "Honolulu blue," based on the color of the waves off the Hawaiian coast

But this week, both teams will #TurnItGreen.

When UNC hosts the Iowa Hawkeyes on Wednesday, all 22,000 fans in attendance at the Dean Dome will receive a green Tar Heels shirt made out of 85 percent recycled polyester and 15 percent cotton. On Sunday, 65,000 fans at the Lions-Buccaneers game at Ford Field will receive a towel made with recycled materials.

The giveaways are being provided by REPREVE, a company that turns recycled plastic bottles into yarn.

ThePostGame has a sneak peak at the giveaways at the two venues:

The T-shirt is made with two recycled plastic bottles and the towel features three recycled plastic bottles. A total of 250,000 recycled bottles are estimated to be used in the products REPREVE gives away at the two events. Other promotional t-shirts, towels and banners will be available in both venues.

"Working with REPREVE gives us the opportunity to show how green our students and fan base can be, and I’m confident they will rise to the challenge,” UNC coach Roy Williams said. "Recycling really does make a significant impact, and we want everyone to take what they learn in the stands and put it into action, so that the entire campus community will recycle even more than we do currently."

As part of REPREVE's "Take the Smart Shot" campaign, a number of recycling competitions have been unveiled this week involving UNC students. The company also announced the 2015 UNC graduation ceremony will feature REPREVE gowns, each made using 27 recycled plastic bottles.

In Detroit, 500 new recycling containers have been created in Ford Field at the start of training camp. As of Nov. 9, 37,000 had been recycled in Ford Field. The campaign has been part of REPREVE's "Make the Smart Throw" program in Detroit.

"Recycling is critical, yet 70 percent of plastic bottles in the U.S. do not get recycled, ending up in parks, landfills or the ocean. In football, you have to give 100 percent day in and day out, and the same is true for recycling and taking care of the planet,” Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "It’s time for us to step up our game and make the smart throw by tossing our used plastic bottles into recycling bins."

Since 2009, REPREVE has recycled more than 2 billion plastic bottles into everyday products. Other partners include The North Face, Haggar, Quiksilver and Ford.

More information about "Take the Smart Shot," "Make the Smart Throw" and #TurnItGreen Week can be found on www.repreve.com.

Andre Johnson didn't grow up with money. Going on a Christmas shopping spree was a distant dream.

But as an NFL star, Johnson is able to make that dream a reality for a handful of lucky kids.

For the eighth straight year, "Andre Claus" has done just that, spending more than $16,000 on toys for 11 at-risk kids in the Houston area. The charges ran up a shopping receipt taller than the 6-foot-3 receiver:


The kids were given about 80 seconds (Johnson wears No. 80) to run through the store collecting whatever gifts they wanted. Tiny legs and hands were no obstacle in snatching up some of the best gifts found in a Houston-area Toys 'R' Us:


All of the kids participating in the event come from backgrounds of parental abuse, and are currently living with another family member. The participants were selected by child protective services.

"I always said if I ever made it, if I was blessed to make a lot of money, I always wanted to give back and do things for kids and just help people out," Johnson told HoustonTexans.com. "That’s why I do it."

The gratitude from the children doesn't hurt, either:


"Everybody just says thank you," Johnson said. "You just help them in a way that they thought they'd never be helped. It's an opportunity for their kids to get whatever they want, and they don't have to worry about it. I'm glad to take that burden off of them."

Bazillion-dollar contracts dominate the headlines, but for some sports agents representing professional athletes is about more than just crunching the numbers. It's about understanding that there's a larger mission. That's one of the key lessons Leigh Steinberg stressed in his first educational boot camp for those interested in becoming an agent.

Steinberg, the inspiration for the movie "Jerry Maguire," says universities don't offer the courses that give students a complete picture on how to be a responsible agent. That has prompted him to begin his Agent Academy. Steinberg conducted his first one-day seminar at his office in Newport Beach this fall, and he plans to offer more of these sessions on location at events such as the combines, draft and All-Star Games for the pro sports leagues.

Here's a closer look at why this project means so much to Steinberg and what students said about the experience:

In 1961, Charlie Sifford became the first black golfer to receive his PGA Tour card. That's why, at 92, Sifford received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

The honor is the highest bestowed upon a civilian, and it's more than fitting for a man that entered golf at a time when the PGA Tour had a "Caucasians Only" clause, as noted by Bill Dwyre in a column for the Los Angeles Times.

But it's still bittersweet in some ways: Not just because Sifford had to be granted access in the first place, and not just because Sifford was never fully accepted into the golf world (he never played in The Masters, a barrier not broken until 1975). Sifford's PGA career is bittersweet because it didn't begin until he was 38. By then, much of his prime had already passed. Tiger Woods is 38, and injuries aside, his best years are well behind him.

Sifford turned pro in 1948 and won six Negro opens, including five straight from 1952 through 1956. He first tried to qualify for a PGA Tour even in 1952 and endured threats on his well-being. In 1957, he won the Long Beach Open against a field that included prominent, white PGA golfers.

Finally, in 1961 he made the PGA Tour. And that's where he stayed, winning PGA events in 1967 and 1969.

Sifford was a quiet man, preferring to speak through his performance. He was angry, but he tried to let that frustration fuel his desire. According to then-Times columnist Jim Murray, writing about Sifford ahead of the '69 Los Angeles Open that he won:

"Golf was not a game for ghettos. Neither did it leave any time for carrying picket signs, joining demonstrations or running for office. Charlie birdied, not talked, his way through society prejudice. He broke barriers by breaking par. His weapon was a nine-iron, not a microphone."

Most of the time, Sifford kept his teeth fixed on a cigar he often smoked while he played.

Sifford went on to enjoy the game for many years, winning the 1975 PGA Seniors' Championship and participating in the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf tournament, where he won as recently as 2000.

Now, Sifford is witness to a generation of golfers that grew up idolizing a black golfer in Woods. Before Woods was even born, it was men like Sifford who stuck with a sport and professional tour that was resistant to his presence.

What would Sifford's career have been if he could have been allowed on the PGA Tour earlier? Despite his Negro Tour dominance, it's hard to know for sure.

Instead, Sifford's legacy is one of breaking down barriers. While a more noble distinction than any golf trophy, Sifford's Presidential Medal of Freedom is also a form of atonement. He was never granted the chance to realize his full potential at the PGA level.

As Charlie Sifford is celebrated for the man he was, he should also be honored for the golfer he wasn't allowed to become.

It's a reasonable assertion that J.J. Watt could destroy almost anyone he comes face-to-face with. The gargantuan defensive end is on the verge of becoming a modern football anomaly -- not only is he dominant at his position, but he's become a force to be considered in certain offensive situations.

Despite his reputation as a physical beast, Watt prefers the mantle of "gentle giant" off the field. A frequent visitor to children's hospitals, Watt just opened his wallet to buy lunch for the Houston police and fire departments.


The pizzas were delivered with a letter from Watt.

"My Dad and Uncle were both firefighters, so I spent a lot of time around the firehouse when I was younger and gained a great deal of respect for both firefighters and the police force along the way," Watt writes. "Y’all show up day in and day out, never knowing what the day might hold and never getting enough thanks for what you do, yet you continue to put others before yourselves and save lives because of it.

"I know it’s not much, but please enjoy lunch on me today."

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