WERTHEIMER: The NBA hoped to bring out its brightest stars on Christmas Day, but another injury to Kobe Bryant cancelled his duel with LeBron James. And in the NFL, division titles and playoff spots are up for grabs, but there too injuries might make the difference. Howard Bryant of ESPN.com and ESPN the Magazine joins us now from the studios of New England Public Radio. Welcome, Howard.
HOWARD BRYANT: And good morning, Linda. How are you?
In the National Football League, it is the final week of the regular season and that's usually a time for teams to lick their wounds, rest their starters or just contemplate next year, but not this season. The playoff picture is in such upheaval that many teams are fighting for their postseason lives. NPR's Mike Pesca joins us to talk about what's at stake this week. And hiya, Mike.
As we close out 2013, we're returning to some of the year's films that were "inspired by a true story" and taking a look at the true-to-inspired ratio. Turns out, 42 — a biopic that portrays Jackie Robinson's 1947 integration of Major League Baseball — gets a lot of things right.
Arnold Rampersad, a professor of English at Stanford University who wrote a biography of Robinson, says the film really rings true.
A third of the NBA season is complete and the Portland Trailblazers are on a surprising run. Last night they beat the L. A. Clippers 116 - 112 in overtime. Portland has the league's best record - 24 wins, five losses. Now the tepid pre-season forecasts are turning into talk of how far the Blazers can go in the post-season. NPR's Tom Goldman reports.
NBC Sports has made a bet on the English Premier League, and the network is making matches all ten Boxing Day matches available to paying cable subscribers. Matt Weiland, co-editor of The Thinking Fan's Guide to the World Cup, joins Robert Siegel to talk about why the Premier League games are worth watching.
Originally published on Thu December 26, 2013 12:12 pm
Whether or not you like the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, this news may warm your heart:
Jon Kitna, who is coming out of retirement to be the team's emergency quarterback on Sunday, plans to donate his $53,000 paycheck from the game to the Tacoma, Wash., high school where he now teaches math and coaches football.
Holidays have long been made for sports. Football has all but replaced the turkey as the signature of Thanksgiving. For decades, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day meant stadiums filled for baseball double-headers. It's almost as if games are now an excuse for holidays, rather than the other way around.
So I now wish you a Merry NBA Day! There will be five nationally televised pro basketball games, lasting 13 straight hours, on Wednesday.
For people in Germany, Christmas means evergreens, "Silent Night" and mulled wine. In the city of Berlin, Christmas also means celebrating a scrappy group of athletes. The FC Union soccer team was formed by iron workers more than a century ago. During the Cold War, it became a symbol of resistance against the East German government. These days, despite mixed results on the field, FC Union remains a fan favorite.
NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson sent this postcard from a game over the weekend.