An eight-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker, Brian Urlacher is widely expected to gain entrance into the Pro Football Hall of Fame when he's eligible in a few years, which is not bad for an athlete from Lovington, New Mexico, where his coaches didn't even see college potential in him until his junior year of high school. The Middle School Rules Of Brian Urlacher features the real childhood stories and exploits of young Brian Urlacher and illustrate how they shaped him into the world-class athlete he became. Urlacher's stories will connect with young readers by highlighting the importance of being your best, overcoming adversity and reaching your dreams through discipline and hard work. In this excerpt, we get an example of Brian's sibling rivalry with his brother, Casey, who is 15 months younger.

When Brian was in the seventh grade, both boys signed up to play baseball. In Lovington’s "Major League," brothers were usually placed on the same team to make life a little easier for a parent shuttling them to and from practice.

At tryouts, Casey distinguished himself as a hitter, Brian as a pitcher.

But when the coaches gathered to draft their players, Casey had a request: He didn't want to be part of a package deal with his big brother.

"I don't want to play with him," Casey told his mother.

Casey ended up on the Mariners, and Brian on the Braves. Their teams excelled, although everyone in the family circled one date in particular: June 9, 1990. On that Saturday, the Braves would play the Mariners and -- as fate would have it -- Brian would pitch.

Casey was the cleanup hitter for the Mariners, and he had a man on second, with two outs in the first inning. Brian reared back and chucked a fastball toward the plate.

"Ball one!"

The first pitch was low and outside.

Brian's second pitch didn’t find the strike zone. Casey didn't even swing.

"Ball two!"

Brian was getting a bit nervous now.

So on his third pitch, with all might, Brian flung his fastest fastball toward the plate -- and Casey launched it into left center field. The ball landed short of the fence but bounced over it for a ground-rule double.

The Mariners took a 1-0 lead, and Brian was upset on the mound.

Brian hit a harmless dribbler to second base in his first at-bat, and the Braves were still losing 1-0 when Casey got up to the plate again.

With his first pitch, Brian flung his fastest fastball toward the plate -- and drilled Casey on the left side of his body. Brian wasn't alarmed. He just glared at his little brother, who hadn't been able to move out of the way of the pitch quickly enough.

Casey didn’t say anything. He didn't charge the mound. He just strolled to first base.

That made Brian even angrier.

The Mariners won 3-2.

After the game, Brian's mom asked him what happened on the pitch.

"I hit him in the back ... and I don’t feel bad about it," Brian said.

Brian’s mom could barely keep from laughing since Casey wasn’t hurt.

But Casey couldn’t resist chiming in, "It's OK, Mom; we won, and I had a great game."

When they got home, Brian was immediately sent to his room, with no snack and no TV time.

Usually, from their bunk beds in the bedroom they always shared, Brian and Casey would talk for a few minutes after Mom tucked them in for the night. But the night after the big game, both worked extra hard not to say a word.

Brian fumed and Casey gloated.

-- Excerpted by permission from The Middle School Rules Of Brian Urlacher by Brian Urlacher and Sean Jensen. Copyright (c) 2015. Published by Broad Street Publishing Group LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Google Play. Follow Brian Urlacher on Twitter @BUrlacher54. Follow Sean Jensen on Twitter @seankjensen.

Stephen Curry may be the best shooter in the world. Although he has evolved into one of the NBA's top ball-handlers and passers as well, his marksmanship from long range is still his trademark.

Curry's touch from deep goes extends to golf. In fact, he is so good with a club, his father says Stephen could play professional golf.

"He really could," says Dell, who played 16 NBA seasons as a guard/forward. "When we play, he hits balls and we go out and it's three summers in a row he's put up scores in the 60s.

"If Steph got a golf coach and practiced and put in the time like he does in basketball, he could play. He's really good. He's that good. He doesn't miss a lot of shots, and when he does, he can recover. He thinks he can make any putt he stands over."

This trigger-happy mentality translates from Stephen's basketball style. Curry takes shots from an array of spots on the court. His 412 three-point attempts were second in the league as of Feb. 24 (Wesley Matthews took 413 threes in three more games played). As with golf, Curry backs up his shot selection with success. His average of 3.2 three-pointers made to game led the NBA as of Feb. 24 (Kyle Korver was second with 3.1 per game).

Stephen, who played three years of high school golf, beats his dad "consistently," even though Dell has been playing for a much longer.

"I do broadcasting for the Hornets, so I'm off all summer," Dell, who does color commentary in his hometown of Charlotte, says. "He's got a wife, a young kid, and I play a lot more than he does. It doesn't matter. We can both drive it a long way, but his short game and his putting is just really good. He's got soft hands and creativity."

Last week, Golf Digest reported Curry has been a scratch golfer, although, he is currently closer to a 5 in handicap. Any handicap hovering around scratch should be considered successful for a man who devotes the vast majority of his time to a contact sport.

Curry has become a familiar face at the American Century Championship, an annual charity celebrity golf tournament hosted at Edgewood Tahoe South. In 2013, Curry entered the final round with the lead, but dropped to fourth place, giving way for Billy Joe Tolliver to win the tournament. He also finished 28th in 2010 and 13th in 2014.

The NBC-broadcasted event is a good way for fans to get an idea of Curry's swing:

Golf swing guru Hank Haney is known by some NBA fans for his work with Charles Barkley. As part of the Golf Channel's "The Haney Project," Haney worked with Barkley for an extended period of time to improve his golf swing. When working with Curry, Haney could instruct at a more advanced level:

Haney also taught Tiger Woods for a time. Currently, it is unclear which of Haney's students, Curry or Woods would win if pitted against each other. Woods is currently taking a leave of absence from the PGA Tour while dealing with back injuries.

"Right now, Tiger's struggling a bit," Dell says with a laugh. "He's got to get them glutes firing again."

During the offseason, golf is clearly a staple of the Curry family. North Carolina and the Bay Area are both rich with golf courses. The game is used for fun and excuse purposes.

"We actually use each other to play golf," Dell says. "I got to play with my son. I got to go play with my dad."

The Curry household appears to have some similarities to an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond." Stephen gets to play golf, although, he has to clear it with his wife, Ayesha.

"I'm OK with it," she says. "But there's a limit. I think he would live on the golf course if he could."

For the time being, Curry is still living on the basketball court. His 23.6 points, 7.9 assists and 2.2 steals per game and the Warriors' 43-10 record make him a prime MVP candidate. Curry was the leading vote-getter for this year's All-Star Game. He won the three-point contest, although he lost the Degree Battle of the Game Changers to John Wall.


One thing going for Curry's golf game is age. Although his basketball career will come to an end, likely some time in his 30s, golfers can compete at older ages. Phil Mickelson is still competing at 44. Darren Clarke won the Open Championship one month before his 43rd birthday in 2011. Tom Watson went to a playoff at the Open Championship at age 59 in 2009.

Maybe a professional tour looms in Curry's extended future.

"Someone told me he might want to go onto the golf circuit," says Sonya Curry, Stephen's mother. "I'm trying to start something."

If Curry can potentially angle his golf shots with the same precision he shoots the basketball, there is reason to believe two sports could be in his plans. The PGA Tour better be on its heels.

Albert Pujols told reporters at Spring Training this week that his retirement plans may be out of his hands.

And the 35-year-old Angels slugger didn't mean that as a reference to his health, rather he was talking about his 9-year-old daughter and her potential future as an Olympic gymnast.

Pujols said his daughter, Sophia, is enrolled in an elite program that trains 35 hours per week. Her goal is to make the American Olympic team for the 2020 Olympics, in which case Pujols would retire in order to watch her compete.

Over the weekend Albert and his wife, Deidre, cheered on Sophia as she took first place in a the all-around in a big meet in St. Louis.

"Tears were coming out of our eyes," Pujols said. "We were so happy for her."

And while a lot can chance between now and 2020, where Sophia has her eyes on the Tokyo Olympics, it doesn't hurt that she's got the genes of one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball history.

Perhaps the largest hurdle for Sophia is her age. She would be 14 in 2020, which is two years under the age limit for competitors. But, Pujols said with a shrug, "they're always changing the rules."

The 2020 Tokyo Games would occur in the middle of the second-to-last season on Pujols' mega 10-year, $240-million deal with the Angels. If, by some stoke of extreme fortune, Sophia does make that team, Pujols made a firm-sounding promise that he would put his bat down and head to Japan.

"That might be the year I have to retire,” Pujols said with a smile. "You can put that in paper. I don’t want to miss it."

Pujols will be 40 during the 2020 season and could be close to shattering Barry Bonds' all-time home runs record. Matt Bonesteel of the Washington Post crunched the numbers and came to the conclusion that if Pujols keeps hitting home runs at his current rate, he'll be at 705 long balls by the start of the 2020 season. Bonds' record is 762.

With Pujols' recent health issues and the inevitable decline in play that comes with aging, breaking Bonds' record seems like a long shot. Watching his daughter in the Olympics also seems like a pipe dream for Pujols, but it's safe to say the future Hall of Famer isn't unfamiliar with miracles.

Dell Curry cracks a smile. He has a lot to smile about these days with his son Stephen being the top vote-getter for the NBA All-Star Game. It might be hard to imagine now, but when Stephen got to Davidson, Dell thought a mid-major scholarship was going to be his son's limit in basketball. Then came the 2008 NCAA tournament.

Stephen was a sophomore, and with a stunning series of scoring explosions, he carried Davidson to within one game of the Final Four, beating Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin along the way. The second-round game was particularly memorable for Dell, because the sons of Doc Rivers and Patrick Ewing played for the Hoyas. Georgetown, with Jeremiah Rivers and Patrick Ewing Jr., led 38-27 at the half, holding Stephen to just five points. The lead was enough for a certain Hall of Famer to gloat.
"At halftime, they're up big and Patrick is sitting on the Georgetown side," Dell says. "He sends an usher over, who tells me, 'Patrick says, hey,' and I wave to him. After the game, I couldn't find him. I'm like, where's my boy at? I still give him a hard time about that."

With 30 points from Stephen, Davidson knocked off Georgetown 74-70, and its run continued until a 59-57 loss to Kansas in the regional final. After staying one more season at Davidson in which he led the nation with an average of 28.6 points, Steph became the seventh pick in the 2009 draft. Dell was a first-round pick himself back in 1986 and played 16 NBA seasons, so he had a realistic understanding of what it takes to make it as a professional. It wasn't until Stephen's sophomore season that Dell started thinking the NBA was a possibility.
"When the pressure's there, the media's there and everyone's watching, especially at a small school, he was the guy the other team had to stop in order to beat Davidson," Dell says. "They couldn't do it, so I said, OK, he's special."

Davidson coach Bob McKillop believed in his NBA potential before either of Stephen's parents.

"His coach actually told us after his second college game of his career," Dell says. "The first game, he had like 12 turnovers."

"No, 21," Steph's mom, Sonya, chimes in.

(The correct total is 13.)

Dell continues his story: "In the second game, I think he had like 32 against Michigan in a tournament. We were walking back through the airport and we ran into the team. Coach McKillop walked over and the first thing he said was, 'Your son's going to make a lot of money playing this game.' I said, 'Eh, OK, maybe in Europe.' But he knew then."
Fast forward six years and Curry is the toast of the NBA. Averaging 23.6 points and 7.9 assists at the All-Star break, the MVP candidate has Golden State, NBA fans and his family giddy.

"It's unbelievable," Sonya says. "We're pinching ourselves. I'm thinking six years have gone quickly."

The combination of Steph's personal underdog story and family-friendly personality along with his spectacular basketball skills has helped him land some major endorsement deals with companies such as Under Armour, State Farm and Degree. During All-Star weekend in New York, Degree made a big push with Curry. It invited several reporters to chat with Stephen and his family over lunch. Ayesha Curry, Stephen's wife, was there too. The couple met in a youth group at a church in Charlotte while in their teens. All of Curry's inner circle saw a time before NBA stardom.

Degree also staged a H-O-R-S-E style competition, billed as Battle of the Game Changers, between Curry and John Wall the day before the All-Star Game. Curry lost this event and also fell short when teaming up with Dell in the NBA's Shooting Stars Competition. But then he won the Three-Point Contest for the first time in his four tries and followed with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists as a starter in the All-Star Game.

In the bigger picture, though, Curry's most notable accomplishment of the weekend was honoring one of the Chapel Hill shooting victims with special messages written on his sneakers. Curry cited his North Carolina roots as a big reason why he was moved to do it.

Dell was the all-time leading scorer for the old Hornets and works as a TV analyst for the new Hornets. In Charlotte, Dell comes into contact with Hornets owner Michael Jordan on a near-daily basis. Once upon a time, Jordan's Bulls knocked Dell's Hornets out of the playoffs twice. Now Jordan wouldn't mind having a Curry sharpshooter of his own.

"He wants him in Charlotte pretty much," Dell says. "He's not supposed to, but, because I work with him, he's like, 'When's his contract up?' I say, 'Good luck with that. They like him in Oakland.'"

But before he went to Oakland and became a star on the game's biggest stages, he was playing in smaller gyms within driving distance from Davidson's campus.

"The Southern Conference, they call it a bus conference," Dell says. "You can bus trip to every game, home or away, and there was a group of us that traveled to every game that year. We got to be close. We'd tailgate before games. As they kept winning, the group got bigger and the tailgates got bigger and things got more intense."

Tailgating before that 2008 tournament game against Georgetown in Raleigh, Curry's crew spotted Doc Rivers.

"He stopped by," Dell says. "We said, 'Hey Doc, how you doing?' He kind of had that look like: You guys are having fun, but do you really think you have a shot at beating Georgetown? Come on. He had that kind of look. He never said it."

You can bet Dell Curry will always be smiling whenever he get to tell that story one more time.

Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork got a big laugh when he saw his wife, Bianca, was nearly knocked down in the water on their beach vacation. As she put it in her Instagram caption, Vince said, "haha you almost fell."

Then karma took a big bite out of Vince, as Bianca documented on video. Down goes Wilfork! Down goes Wilfork!


A video posted by Bianca Wilfork (@mrs75) on



Good lesson here: If you're going to mock your wife, wait until she's no longer rolling video to catch the karmic payback.

And as we know, Mrs. Wilfork is quite handy with the video camera.

While March is normally a great time for Kentucky Wildcats fans, one particular supporter has an extra special reason to be excited for next month.

Not only are her Wildcats undefeated (25-0) and the top ranked team in the nation, Heather McKnight is pregnant and due to give birth to her daughter in March.

As a show of support for her school, McKnight had a friend paint her belly to look like a basketball. And it looks amazingly realistic.

Here are some photos:








Kentucky does have its share of notable fans, including the actress Ashley Judd and the rapper Drake, but it's hard to top this dedication.

Brazilian soccer club Recife has struggled with keeping its stands orderly -- particularly against rival Náutico, which can bring out the worst in fan behavior.

So the club took an innovative approach to solving its fan violence problem: It hired moms as security guards.

And not just anybody's mom, either. These security guards are the mothers of the very fans behind the in-game trouble.

Known as the "Seguranca Mae," Portugese for "Security Moms," these women underwent the same security training as any other guard. Then, wearing orange vests, they were deployed to the sidelines.


The strategy worked brilliantly: No fans were arrested during the match, which Recife won, 1-0.

"The idea was to make the most fanatical supporters aware and help in some way to bring peace to stadiums," said Aricio Fortes, an executive at the PR firm Ogilvy, to Reuters. "At the end of the day, no one wants to fight in front of a mother, especially his own."

Sure, it worked today. But Recife might want to plan on making those security moms a fixture at matches. It would good incentive. Fans can show their passion for the game while also having the opportunity to guarantee their mothers steady employment.

It's almost like a family business.

Tags:
Brazil, Soccer

The waterworks came unexpectedly for LeBron James.

The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar was watching TV on Monday when one of his favorite shows "The Fresh Prince of Bel Air" came on. The episode was particularly memorable for James -- in it, the father of Will Smith's character briefly reappears in his son's life.

James felt so moved by the episode that he posted four videos of its most touching scene.


Part 1.I shed a tear til this day every time I see this episode. Every single time!

A video posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on


Part 2

A video posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on


Part 3

A video posted by LeBron James (@kingjames) on


James himself grew up with a largely absentee father. And like Will Smith's character in this scene, James has credited his father with providing him the motivation to be a better dad for his own kids.


James and his wife, Savannah, have two sons and a daughter. Their youngest, Zhuri, was born Oct. 22, 2014.

While Rob Gronkowski chugged beers and Devin McCourty dissed Seattle's prized secondary, the most beloved participant in Wednesday's parade in Boston may have been someone who is not even on the Patriots.

Tom Brady's 5-year-old son, Benjamin, captured the hearts of Boston residents with his outrageous cuteness throughout the day.

Here's an adorable photo of the little man and his MVP dad posted by Benjamin's mom, Gisele Bundchen.


Benjamin rode with his father in the parade, and at one point he even kissed the trophy:

Just in case anyone forgot how many Super Bowls his father has won, Benjamin reminded fans:


All of this excitement was exhausting for little Ben Brady, so it's hard to blame him for eventually falling asleep.





There's another champ in the Jones family.

Chandler Jones became a Super Bowl winner Sunday night as he helped the Patriots beat the Seahawks 28-24. Jones, who had one of New England's three sacks on Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, follows the lead of older brothers Arthur and Jon.

Arthur had a sack for Baltimore in its Super Bowl win two years ago against the 49ers. Jon is the UFC light heavyweight champion.

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