Christian and Samantha Ponder may be the real life Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Did you know Sam Ponder, part of the ESPN College GameDay crew and sideline reporter for college football and basketball, was pregnant? Did anyone?

Some time after football season ended, when Christian cleaned out his Vikings locker and Sam wrapped up coverage of Florida State's national championship, the couple went into hibernation from public view.

The couple did not host the red carpet portion of the ESPYs, as they had in 2013. Did no one think it was weird Nick "Swaggy P" Young was hosting the red carpet?

It turns out the Ponders have been too busy learning how to be parents. It appears Christian and Sam have a new baby girl.



Larry Fitzgerald Sr. can attest:


Sam is from Phoenix, Fitzgerald's son plays for the Arizona Cardinals and Maya Moore was playing in the WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix. Worlds colliding!

With Sam already putting her baby on an airplane, one can infer the baby is a few weeks old at the least. Although no particular birth date is clear, Sam's Twitter may have implied when she was still pregnant.



If news of the Ponders' baby wasn't enough by itself, consider her name: "Bowden." As in legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden, the man who recruited Christian to be a Seminole.


It must be nice to have 377 wins, most in FBS coaching history, under your belt before you can talk. It is also nice to have a quarterback for a dad and a top ESPN reporter for a mom.

Bowden's middle name is reportedly "Sainte-Claire," the same middle name given to her mother, whose maiden name is Steele.

Thinking back to the Ponders' initial relationship formulation, it took months for the news to surface. Politicians cannot hide sexts, but blonde college football reporters can withhold pregnancy. What a country.

Can't wait for the baby's first word to be "dadgummit."

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The stars, they're just like us. LeBron James was one of many fathers watching from the sidelines of a youth basketball game this weekend, and the newly signed Cavalier held nothing back when cheering on LeBron Jr. With his son competing in the AAU Fourth Grade National Championship -- there's no such thing as "too early" for Kentucky oach John Calipari, who indeed was in attendance -- James hollered, clapped and paced the sidelines.

At the end of the game, he stormed the court to tackle his oldest son, prompting a full-on dog pile from other teammates.

LeBron certainly looked to be enjoying himself, though it helped that LeBron Jr. is damn fast off the dribble. James' son was there representing the Miami City Ballers. Perhaps an essay for Sports Illustrated Kids is the logical next step.

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Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson revealed his softer side on the Hot Mornings with Jayde show on 101.5 FM in Tampa to promote his new children's book, Danny Dogtags: Dealing With Deployment. Jackson read an excerpt of his book to Jayde Donovan's on-air colleague Seth Kush, who was in a race car bed with a Buccaneers quilt.

The book is about a young child who is upset that his father is being deployed in the U.S. Army. Danny then meets a Tampa Bay Buccaneers player who understands the situation and makes sure Danny doesn't feel alone. That Tampa Bay Buccaneers player may very well be Jackson.

Jackson is the son of two military parents, and has the understanding of the dedication and hardships of living in such a family.

This is the first children's book that he and his wife have written.

Jackson was a straight-A student through high school in Colorado Springs. He graduated with a 4.10 GPA, and was accepted to Columbia of the Ivy League before deciding to play football at Northern Colorado.

Jackson is entering his third season with the Buccaneers. He played in all 16 games last season, recording 78 receptions for 1,224 yards and seven touchdowns.

The book is available at Mascot Books.

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Trick Shot Titus already has quite the impressive resume, which includes beating Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and two big-time movie stars in shooting contests.

By setting the bar so high, the challenge for Titus is to develop fresh and compelling material, and his latest clip might have done just that. Watch Titus try to help out around the house and launch a different kind of ball.

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Even as he was preparing to play in the MLB All-Star Game for the first time Tuesday in Minneapolis, Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman had no trouble telling the story of his fondest Little League memory.

Freeman's dad was pitching at batting practice. Freeman hit a home run. Freddie's mother, Rosemary, was walking the family dog along the outfield fence when the home run hit a light post that was only a few feet from her. The 8-year-old slugger was so happy he did not realize that the ball almost hit his mother.

Just two years later, Freeman lost his mom to melanoma. That anguish has given Freeman a special appreciation of the joy he gets from playing baseball that much more.

"Enjoy and have fun when you're a kid, because you are a kid," Freeman said. "And then when you get a little bit older, if you have a chance to take it to the next level make sure you just practice, and practice, and practice. Just have fun, and just play hard, and just practice a lot."

Freeman, who missed the 2013 MLB All-Star Game due to injury, is still involved with Little League. He is a partner with ACE Brand Sports Medicine Products, a sponsor of Little League Baseball and Softball that helps youngsters create their own digital baseball cards.

"When I played Little League, I looked up to the big leaguers too, and collected their baseball cards," said Freeman, who was a pitcher and shortstop before growing to be a 6-5 first baseman.

The My ACE All-Stars baseball card creator web app allows Little League players to customize digital baseball cards with their own stats and All-Star moments.

"Now what ACE is doing, to be able to give Little Leaguers a chance to create their own [cards] now I think is just a very cool idea,” Freeman said. “And something that I wish I had back in the day too.”

Even as a fourth-year major leaguer, Freeman savored the experience of seeing himself on a baseball card for the first time.

"It's definitely a huge, cool thing," he said. " Thrilling, thrilling to see yourself on a baseball card for the first time."

The Braves first baseman hopes to bring that sensation to Little Leaguers everywhere. “I think when they create their own digital baseball cards that it’s definitely going to be a cool sight for them too see themselves on a card," Freeman said.

Rooted in his childhood Freeman’s message about the Little League experience extends well beyond customized baseball cards.

“Obviously my love for baseball started at a very young age because my two older brothers played baseball," he said, "so I was always at their Little League games, practice wanting to be playing with them."

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When Linsanity exploded in the winter of 2012, one of its major story angles was couch-surfing. Jeremy Lin used to crash in the apartments of his brother Josh and Knick teammate Landry Fields, even as he became a cultural phenomenon. It only served to bolster his Cinderella story.

More than two years later, this becomes relevant again because of an amusing Craigslist ad posted in Los Angeles.

Lin was traded to the Lakers last week, and one local Chinese-American mom thought he might be interested in pursuing modest accommodations in the L.A. area. This mom had her son post the following ad -- click on it to see original in larger type -- on her behalf:

At least one source vouches for the authenticity of this ad. "I actually know this person, and she is, hands down, the biggest Laker fan I know," according to AngryAsianMan.com.

Not that Lin needs advice from us, but we suggest he ask to see the place. At the very least, he might get a home-cooked meal out of a visit, and that's something even NBA millionaires aren't going to turn down so fast.

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Jimbo Fisher had the catch of the day this off-season -- but it wasn’t a five-star recruit for the Seminoles. The Florida State head coach and his family caught a huge shark while on a fishing trip this week.


At the height of the summer, the Division I football recruiting process is difficult for both coaches and prospects. But this year the NCAA implemented a recruiting dead period between late June and early July, in which FBS programs cannot contact recruits.

Some coaches are using the dead period for vacation time such as Fisher and his family. Hopefully for Florida State, Fisher can continue to land some big catches once recruiting resumes, so he can restock a roster that lost seven players to the 2014 NFL draft.

Judging by the size of that shark, maybe Jimbo should enlist the help of the whole Fisher family to land some big-time recruits for the reigning BCS champions.

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Thanks to social media, we already know that LeBron James Jr. has some serious moves on the basketball court while also being able to nail an impressive trick shot.

Now we can see LeBron Jr. is also quite proficient with a rod and reel. Dad is rather pumped up as LeBron Jr. pulls a tuna on board.


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Every Sunday during the fall, NFL defensive backs Devin and Jason McCourty review their game plans, strap on pads and helmets, and prepare for a grueling three-hour battle. The twins understand that this mentality is what the thousands of patients suffering from sickle cell disease must have every day as they cope with deadly condition.

"A lot of people don't understand that this disease affects almost 100,000 people in the United States, and it's just not talked about," said Devin, a 2010 first-round pick of the Patriots. "That is our goal with the NFL, our name, the PSA and everyone that helps to create that awareness. There are a lot of people going through this."

For Devin and twin brother Jason, who plays for the Titans, the campaign is personal. They have partnered with Embrace Kids Foundation and Novartis to spread the word on their Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign, because they became aware of it at a young age.

Their father carried the trait, so the twins were tested to see if they had it as well. Fortunately for them, they do not. But after their father passed, the two grew close to their aunt and uncle who do have the disease. Seeing sickle cell disease affect people so close to them, especially their aunt, ignites their passion for their campaign.

"As a kid she went to the hospital and the doctor told her that she wouldn't live to see 35 and she's now 64," Jason said. "Just to watch her continue to fight for her life every day and battle has inspired us to use our platform and give back.

"It hasn't been easy she's definitely had her ups and downs. When you talk to her and see and see how much she goes through because of a disease she was born with and how she continues to fight it's an awesome thing to see. Nothing we do seems hard when you see what she's going through."

According to the National Institute of Health, sickle cell disease "is estimated to occur in 1 in 500 African Americans and 1 in 1,000 to 1,400 Hispanic Americans."

For the past two years the McCourty twins have been hosting a number of events to spread the word about sickle cell, including blood drives, a casino night, and a 5k walk/run. In September, the twins will air their Public Service Announcement (PSA) to kick-start Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

"We want people to get a game plan together," Jason said. "As athletes we have a playbook and a game plan always preparing and anticipating. We want to make sure patients suffering from the disease do the same thing and sit down with their doctors, develop a game plan and stick to it, so that they can do all they can do to stay healthy."

The twins have no plans of slowing down. Last year the campaign raised $60,000 with $40,000 going toward scholarships and the rest to research. Jason is currently working with Vanderbilt University and Devin with Boston Children's Hospital to expand the campaign.

"The NFL has given us a platform," Devin said. "Our goal right now is to use this platform for as long as we can to try to get as many people on board, and get Sickle Cell Awareness out there."

To learn more about the McCourty twins' work, go to the Tackle Sickle Cell Campaign website.

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American boxing fans looking for the future of their favorite sport can rest easy knowing it is in good hands.

That's because a young boy named Nijee looks extremely impressive in a new viral video in which he demonstrates his lightning-quick jabs and powerful punch.

Did we mention Nijee is only 5?

If this video was not persuasive enough, consider that renowned boxing critic Shaquille O'Neal has tweeted his endorsement of the young boy, who has become known as "Nijee the Future."


Nijee has his own Facebook page, where his father has been posting videos of him for the past several years. Here's Nijee at 3:


Nijee is far from the only young boxing prodigy to gain fame via the Internet. And it's probably to early too celebrate him as the next Floyd Mayweather, but if this young guy can continue progressing as quickly as he has in his first five years, he'll be making some serious noise by 2030.

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