Candace Buckner: Crystal ball reveals sports headlines for 2013

Candace Buckner: Commentary




That drunk guy you wanted to kick out of your New Year’s Eve party for blasting “Gangnam Style” said it best when he slurred, “2013 will be the best year ever.”

Especially, if you’re a sports fan and a few events happen just as outrageously as I’m predicting.

Full disclosure, my clairvoyant skills aren’t that great.

I’m not married to the cute one from Another Bad Creation, as I thought I’d be by now. And we’re not zipping around in our flying space cars just like in the opening sequence of The Jetsons, as I once predicted.

But, don’t think for one second that I’ve stopped forecasting the future just because I’m still pumping unleaded into a Chevy Malibu, or the sad realization that my boy band heartthrob, Lil’ Ro Ro, has a gut — and still hasn’t responded to my love letters.

I can still gaze into my crystal ball and reveal the best sports headlines of 2013.

Aldridge blasts All-Star Game, claims conspiracy to vote in every single player but him

PORTLAND — In a fit of paranoia, Trail Blazers power forward LaMarcus Aldridge declares that “The Man” is trying to keep him from the 2013 All-Star Game.

And by “The Man,” he means the clandestine group known as the casual NBA fan who only votes for two-syllable, commercially-marketable first names like Kobe, LeBron, ‘Melo and some dude named Omer.

On Thursday, when the NBA released the third returns of the 2013 NBA All-Star Balloting, Aldridge ranked 11th among Western Conference frontcourt players.

Although Aldridge averages 20.8 points, 8.2 rebounds per game and has this Trail Blazer team of low-rent veterans and barely-legal rookies hanging on for the eighth playoff seed, he also plays in the Pacific Northwest. Which means, Aldridge is the NBA’s version of the mystery man who lives in a cabin in the woods. Hard to win a popularity contest as a stranger.

So if Aldridge returns to the All-Star Game — he earned a spot last year — it will be by the coaches’ vote.

But, really, fans — you’ve cast more votes for Omer Asik than Aldridge? Something’s wrong with this process.

European football fans admit: “We’re kinda racist”

BUSTO ARSIZIO, Italy — Hordes of contrite hooligans hugged it out at soccer stadiums across Europe today singing “We Are The World.” Fans began the healing process by accepting the need to change a long-standing disgrace in their culture.

We love soccer. It’s the most popular sport around the globe. Kids from Cameroon to Columbia River High have something in common just because they play on the same pitch worlds away. But how can a unifying game ignite such divisiveness as displayed during AC Milan’s friendly with lower division club Pro Patria on Thursday?

A segment of fans hurled so much racial vitriol at AC Milan midfielder Kevin-Price Boateng, a Ghanaian-German player, that he abruptly stopped play in the first half, kicked a ball into the stands and walked off the field.

Unfortunately, a walk-off protest won’t end racism in the European game as displays of the ugliness have been seen from Croatia, Bulgaria, Great Britain and Spain.

So, tell me again: they call this the “beautiful game,” right?

Stoudemire learns to guard pick-and-roll, given Lifetime Achievement Award for defense

NEW YORK — Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire continues impressing the NBA with his newly-discovered defensive skills.

Stoudemire admitted this week that he’s “never been taught defense in my whole career.” Amazing that your kid in peewee basketball has more fundamentals than a perennial All-Star. But really, who needs defense when you’re 6-foot-11, have hops like a brewery and more game than Yahtzee? Or at least, that was before the knee surgery. On second thought, better learn to D up, Amar’e.

NHL lockout ends, Americans yawn

NEW YORK — Although this story features a ‘New York’ dateline, Americans discover three days later that the NHL lockout has come to an end.

The crystal ball tells me the NHL Players’ Association will keep voting on matters that seem more complicated than the “fiscal cliff” deal, and soon professional hockey will return as the eighth-most popular sport in America.

Ray Lewis disses ESPN, joins cast of Real Housewives of Atlanta

BALTIMORE — In a surprise development, recently-retired Baltimore Raven linebacker Ray Lewis eschews several offers to yell pointless analysis on ESPN. Instead, Lewis, the 12-time Pro Bowler, chooses the better catfights with NeNe and Kim.

I’m actually rooting for this one, and if it happens, drunk guy was absolutely right. Best. Year. Ever.

Candace Buckner covers the Trail Blazers for The Columbian. She can be reached at 360-735-4528 or email at Her Twitter handle is @blazerbanter.