An epic Michael Jordan gambling story, plus this proposed NFL rule change is crazy and perfect


Friday! We made it! Thanks for spending another week with me — even if it was a bit slow-moving around these parts. Not every week can be the Super Bowl. 

What’s important is that we got here and, now, we’ve still got one more chat before we part ways for the weekend. Today we’ll talk about a radical new overtime rule that could be coming to the NFL, the NBA All-Star Game Draft that went down last night (as well as the teams that were chosen) and an incredible gambling story about Michael Jordan.

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Let’s close this thing out strong and have ourselves one hell of a weekend, shall we?

📰 What you need to know 1. Wild overtime rule change could be coming to NFL 🏈

It seems like there’s been a general distaste for the NFL overtime rules for a while now. The league has tweaked the OT rules multiple times over the past decade but it still feels like the overtime experience can be improved and/or balanced.  Some people want the NFL to adopt an approach similar to what we see in college football, but the Baltimore Ravens have proposed something else entirely this offseason.

Here are the details on the wild proposal(s) that the Ravens have sent to the league:

The proposed rule would center around a “spot-and-choose” concept — one team would choose the yard line where the overtime drive starts and the other team would choose whether they want to play offense or defenseIf Team A and Team B were playing in overtime and Team A won the coin toss, Team A would pick any spot on the field where the first drive of OT would start, while Team B chooses whether to play offense or defenseUnder this proposal, OT would be a 10-minute sudden-death period (first team to score wins the game)The Ravens also submitted an alternate proposal that would see OT consist of a full 7:30 period.  The team winning after the clock hits zero would be the winner of the game (if the score is even, the game ends in a tie)

Oh boy, that is a SPICY meat-a-ball! I could absolutely get down with that first idea, as it requires teams to use more strategy when it comes to OT rather than just relying on getting lucky by winning a coin toss. It’s a very radical idea that will likely draw some pushback, but it also has some pretty notable supporters — including Bill Belichick.

If the league is to pass the rule change, it’ll require 24 of the league’s 32 owners signing off on the idea at the next league meeting (scheduled for March 30-31). What do you think … does it pass? Do you want it to pass? If not, you got a better idea? I’d love to hear it.

2. NBA All-Star teams are set 🏀

This weekend’s sports slate will feature the NBA All-Star Game, which is going down in Atlanta on Sunday. And even though the idea of holding an ASG during a pandemic season was not received well by a lot of people, excitement for the event is picking up a bit. 

Last night, one of the final stages of prep was completed: the All-Star Game draft. The two captains (and top vote-getters), LeBron James and Kevin Durant, drafted their squads in the style of a pick-up game. LeBron took Giannis with the first overall pick, while Durant used his first selection on teammate Kyrie Irving. Mr. Irrelevant went to Rudy Gobert, which might be payback for sending the league into COVID lockdown around this time last year.

Here are your rosters for Sunday’s game:

Team LeBron

Team Durant

There are a few takeaways to be had here, including Durant picking both Irving and Harden for his squad. Apparently those guys aren’t completely sick of each other just yet, which is honestly shocking to me (it should be noted that Durant isn’t actually playing in the game.) It’s also worth pointing out that this will be the first time that LeBron and Steph Curry are suiting up as teammates in an organized game, as they’ve never played on the same All-Star team or Olympics roster.

Who’s ready for a fun weekend of chaotic basketball featuring very little defense? 

3. Antoine Walker shares legendary Michael Jordan gambling story 🏀
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As far as genres of sports stories go, “Michael Jordan being a competitive madman” has to be one of my all-time favorites. That’s why I was very excited to hear a legendary new MJ story yesterday courtesy of former Celtics forward Antoine Walker, who appeared on the “All Things Covered” podcast with Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden to share a tale about an outrageous gambling stint alongside Jordan.

I highly recommend checking out the entire thing here, but here are the highlights:

Jordan and Walker once partnered up to play high stakes spades at a restaurant for 36 straight hours At one point, the two NBA stars were down $900,000 to another duo they were playing againstAs the debts piled up, Jordan sent his nephew to retrieve $500,000 from his golf bag at home, instructing the nephew to make sure Jordan’s wife didn’t see him take the cashUltimately, MJ and Walker won almost all of the money back 

This is an absurd story that seems almost too insane to be true, but boy do I hope it’s real. Knowing what we know about Jordan, his competitive streak and his love for gambling, I’m certainly not ruling out that he’s capable of such madness. But 36 straight hours?! Good lord. I don’t know if I could stay awake for that long doing ANYTHING.

And, as the added kicker here, this all apparently took place around the time that Jordan was set to announce his return to the NBA following a stint playing baseball. Walker said that Jordan ended up postponing his scheduled press conference addressing his basketball comeback because he was too busy playing spades.

Now all I can imagine is MJ smoking a massive cigar while wearing huge jeans as Walker shimmies after winning a round of spades. It’s so beautiful.

4. Get ready for fantasy baseball ⚾

It’s still pretty hard to believe that it’s almost baseball season … I keep getting stunned when I see spring training highlights pop up on my Twitter feed. But Opening Day is just around the corner and that means it’s also time to start preparing for your fantasy baseball season.

If you’re a little caught off-guard about the timing of it all, don’t worry … our fantasy experts are here to help. Those nerds have been grinding away on their 2021 draft kit and they’ve successfully managed to put together a guide that’ll make you the most fearsome challenger in your league.

Here’s some of the stuff you’ll get:

Expert draft day strategiesCheat sheets with rankings, salary cap information, and ADP for Roto and H2H leaguesSleepers, breakouts and bust picksPosition-by-position analysis

Don’t be arrogant … it’s okay to admit you need a little help. Our fantasy baseball guys are the best in the biz, so you should probably let them help you and your team. Head here to get your hands on that masterpiece of a draft guide.

📝 Odds & Ends
USATSI
📺 What to watch this weekend
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Friday

🏒 Capitals vs. Bruins, 7 p.m. | BOS -140 | TV: NHL Network

Saturday

🥊 UFC 259 | TV: ESPN+

Sunday

🏀 NBA All-Star Game, 8 p.m. | TV: TNT

🥇 The best thing I saw yesterday

J.J. Watt and his brothers became one with nature in their workout recovery efforts



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