A – Andres Iniesta. The 26-year old midfielder from Barcelona immortalized himself in Spanish soccer lore with his career-changing goal in the final minutes of the final game of the 2010 World Cup. It was the latest game-winning goal ever scored in a World Cup Final and it gave Spain the World Cup title that had eluded it for so long.
B – Baskett, Hank. One of the goats of Super Bowl XLIV, Baskett was on the losing end with the Indianapolis Colts while Kim Kardashian got to celebrate with Reggie Bush, who she was dating at the time. Fast forward to this summer and Baskett gets a little bit of revenge when his wife’s sex tape outsold Kardashian’s sex tape.
C – Creamer, Paula. On Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open just outside of Pittsburgh, Pa., the cream finally rose to the top. Dressed in customary pink from head to toe, Creamer overcame a sundrenched and brutal Oakmont Course and a potentially career-ending thumb surgery just three months ago. "You don't have surgery on your thumb and win a championship," Creamer said before the Open. "I don't think the odds are very good after that.” She proved herself and a lot of people wrong with a dominating four-stroke win.
D – Dan Gilbert. The long, drawn out, overblown courting of LeBron James this summer finally reached a climax when Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert let it fly like Mussolini from the balcony with a tirade in a letter posted to the Cavaliers Web site. The letter labels LeBron a deserter, a cowardly betrayer and heartless and accuses him of carrying on a narcissistic, self-promotional summer campaign. The highlights of the letter came in a guarantee that Cleveland, who is the only NBA franchise to reach the NBA Finals but never win a game there, would win an NBA title before the Heat do. Gilbert also placed a curse on LeBron and his new city. Monday night David Stern fined Gilbert $100,000.
E – Ernie Els. The 40-year old South African heads to the Open Championship at the Old Course at St. Andrew’s as a potential dark horse. The 2002 Open Championship winner has the fourth best odds on Bodog at 18/1 behind only Tiger Woods (5/1) and Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy who are both listed at 16/1.
F – First Four. We have the Final Four and now, after a recent expansion of the NCAA mens’ basketball tournament field, we have the First Four. The new first round of the tournament will feature the last four teams to receive an at-large bid to the tournament field with the games being played Tuesday and Wednesday after selection Sunday.
G – Golden Eagles. DeAndre Brown, Johdrick Morris and Martez Smith were arrested for refusing to leave a pool party. The three Southern Miss football players were the party when police asked the large crowd to disperse. All complied except the three football players.
H – Heat. Shortly before LeBron James culminated the circus that was his free agency by selecting the Miami Heat, the odds online had the Heat favored at -360 with the Cavaliers +200 and Knicks also in the running at +800. The Miami Heat are now also favored to win the NBA Finals with odds currently at 7/4 on Bodog, just ahead of the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (11/4).
I – Iker Casillas. The Spanish goalkeeper came up with huge saves throughout the World Cup tournament to help lead Spain to its first-ever World Cup title. On Sunday he was awarded the Golden Glove as the top goalkeeper in the tournament.
J – James, LeBron. Oddsmakers wasted no time putting out all kind of props on LeBron James now that his destination has been determined. The ‘over/under’ for his scoring average is 23.5, for rebounds it is seven and for assists it is nine. James may be the new big name in town, but the oddsmakers still think this is Wade’s team. The ‘over/under’ for Dwyane Wade’s scoring average is 25.5.
K – Kobe Bryant. Fresh off another NBA Title, Kobe Bryant goes to the ESPY Awards as the favorite to take home the award for Best Male Athlete. He is listed at even on BetUS to win the award that will be announced July 14. Bryant is ahead of Drew Brees (+150), LeBron James (+250), Jimmie Johnson (+600) and Albert Pujols (+600).
L – Larissa Riquelme. The Paraguayan model matched the promise made by Argentina coach Diego Maradona of streaking through the center of town if her team won the World Cup. Unfortunately, Paraguay was ousted in the quarterfinals but Riquelme decided to strip for her team anyway, posing nude for the Diario Popular newspaper to honor the unprecedented run of success Paraguay had in the World Cup. Fortunately, Maradona has not decided to follow suit.
M – Michael Vick. The Eagles are considering releasing Vick. This is especially bad news for Vick considering he is restricted from leaving the state of Pennsylvania by his probation officer after a shooting outside a club that he was allegedly involved in. That would leave the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only other option for Vick until he is permitted to leave the state again.
N – Nielson Ratings. Nielson estimated that 9.95 million people watched the ESPN LeBron James special “The Decision” when he announced he was spurning his home state for South Beach. It was the third most watched show on cable this year but it could not top the NFL Pro Bowl (12.3 million) or ICarly, a show on Nickelodeon that drew 11.2 million viewers. In Cleveland one in every four television sets were tuned to the announcement and most of those sets were immediately turned off following the announcement.
O – Ochocinco. The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver continues his reality show tour with a show of his own, “Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch”. The reality dating series debuted Sunday night on VH1. The former Mr. Johnson narrowed the bachelorettes from 85 to 17. Notably during the show he dropped this line, “I haven’t seen this many girls on the field since the last time we played the Steelers." That line likely will not go unnoticed when the Bengals meet the Steelers this year.
P - Paul the Psychic Octopus. The prognosticating Octopus incredibly correctly predicted all the German World Cup games along with predicting Spain to win the World Cup. The eight-legged Octopus finished, appropriately enough, a perfect 8-0. His predictions were broadcast all over the world. Television networks in Germany, Spain and Holland interrupted regular scheduled programming to broadcast the predictions by the Oracle Octopus. He made his predictions by eating a piece of food behind a corresponding countries flag. After his perfect 8-0 run, Paul decided to go out on top and he retired.
Q – Quentin, Carlos. The South Side slugger nearly single handily swung the Chicago White Sox to first place in the American League Central. On Sunday Quentin hit a grand slam and a solo home run in a 15-5 rout of the Kansas City Royals. The win helped the White Sox erase a 9.5-game deficit in the AL Central as they surged to first place ahead of the Minnesota Twins. During the seven-game homestand before the All-Star break Quentin was 7-for-13 with six homeruns and 11 RBI while only playing in four games.
R – Rick Rhoden. The eight-time Celebrity Golf Champion is the favorite again at 2/1 on Bodog for the upcoming celebrity golf championship to be held at Lake Tahoe July 16-18. His odds are slightly better than Tony Romo (5/2), Dan Quinn (5/1) and Billy Joe Tolliver (11/2). The obvious long shot is Charles Barkley at 500/1.
S – San Diego Padres. In a year of disappointing high-spending teams, there is one team who has rewarded its backers. The San Diego Padres at 51-37 have already won $100 bettors $1,748 this season. Only the Atlanta Braves (+1171) are above $1,000. Compare that with the five teams who have lost more than $1,000 including the Seattle Mariners (-$2,010) and the Chicago Cubs (-$2,190).
T – Tim Tebow. He was only on the team for eight days in April but Tebow’s new Denver Broncos jersey was the best-selling Jersey that month. So it was no surprise when CNBC announced that the Tebow jersey was the No. 1 seller for the quarter that closed on June 30. The popularity of the jersey was boosted by strong sales both in Denver and in Florida, where Tebow played his college ball. The rookie’s jersey proved to be more popular than new Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb. The McNabb jersey was the second best seller. Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Tony Romo and Brett Favre rounded out the top six most popular jerseys.
U – Udonis Haslem. The Heat have managed to work salary cap magic and convince Udonis Haslem to stay on board. Haslem signed a five-year deal with Miami, spurning offers from Denver and Dallas that would have paid him $14 million more over the life of the contract.
V – VIP. The definition of a VIP at Bar Knoxville is at the center of an NCAA investigation after a brawl at the club resulted in the arrests of two Tennessee players. If the Tennessee players, Darren Myles Jr. and Da’Rick Rogers, indeed received VIP status because they are football players, then a NCAA violation may have occurred. The club contends that there were 200-300 VIPs that night including every female in attendance. The incident has been dubbed the ‘Vol Brawl’ in and around Knoxville.
W – Woods, Tiger. After porn star and convicted prostitute Devon James made claims that Tiger Woods fathered her nine-year old son, Tiger Woods decided not to go on Maury but rather have his own paternity test conducted. It turns out Tiger Woods, who is a lot of things, is not the daddy of the alleged love child. Pictures of the boy were posted online and he does bear a striking resemblance to the golfer.
X – X Nike Trainer 1.2. On Tuesday EA Sports released its hugely popular NCAA Football 11. Nike followed that up with a commemorative sneaker, the X Nike Trainer 1.2. The shoe shares the same color scheme as the Florida Gators. Former Gator quarterback Tim Tebow graces the cover of this year’s game.
Y – Yovani Gallardo. The Milwaukee Brewers’ Mexican-born pitcher is already looking ahead to the 2011 All-Star Game. Well not really, Gallardo was named to this year’s All-Star team with an 8-4 record and a 2.58 ERA, but he says if he is selected next year he will boycott the game because it is being hosted in Arizona, the site of a controversial immigration law.
Z – Zinedine Zidane. Visions of the disgraced French soccer player were in everyone’s head when Dutchman John Heitinga was sent off in the World Cup Final. It was four years ago that Zidane received a red card in the World Cup final after his head butt of Italian Marco Matterazzi. Heitinga’s send off lacked a head butt, but it was just as critical as the Netherlands were forced to play a man down for the final 12 minutes in which they conceded the only goal of the game.