The big news stemmed from Chicago's Game 1 win over the Heat, but center Joakim Noah managed to slip in a message for critics of teammate Derrick Rose. Noah took a question regarding how much pride he and his team feel being able to win without Rose while so many pundits count them out, and he went off on an emotional defense of his close friend. "Derrick's a brother," Noah said. "And to see him go through this is tough, but at the end of the day it's really funny how quick people are to judge. But people don't know what it's like to lead a team, especially after you tore your ACL. ... [Everybody] who hasn't been in that situation before should really shut up because I feel like it's just so unfair to him and to this team." (ESPN Chicago) Comment
Alex Rodriguez has the optimistic lines down -- he has "unfinished business" and the end of his season was "embarrassing" -- but being eager and being ready are two different things. Perhaps because the surgery required inserting anchors into the joint and shaving the bone, along with a lengthy rehab process, the Yankee third baseman stopped short of guaranteeing a return this season after participating in baseball activities on Monday for the first time since the surgery in January. The Yankees had predicted that A-Rod would return to the field after the All-Star break, but asked if he is certain he'll be back, the 37-year-old Rodriguez said, "I really hope so. I really hope so. That's as specific as I'll get." (New York Daily News) Comment
Geno Smith wanted to set the record straight -- or, at least, give his side of the story. Thin-skinned diva? Immature? Spoiled and aloof? Those descriptions, and more, were aimed at Smith for firing his agents, Erik Burkhardt and Jeff Nalley, last week after Smith slid to the second round of the NFL draft. Smith finally responded Monday. "I don't worry about what people say -- my skin is pretty thick," Smith told USA TODAY Sports. "I've never been in trouble." ... As for the open, five-man QB competition and his confidence about his chance to win the starting job? "What more can you ask for?" Smith said. "As of right now, my role as a rookie quarterback is to be a sponge." (USA TODAY Sports) Comment
LeBron James poses with his four MVP trophies. (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Spurs' Manu Ginobili hits a three-pointer to secure a double OT victory for San Antonio in Game 1 of the Western Conference semis.