Dec 3, 2019
Tory BarronESPN Editor
- Tory Barron is a Bristol-based writer and editor for ESPN.com. After retiring from playing lacrosse at UConn, the DC native decided to try her hand at writing about people playing sports.
In the grand scheme of the work week, Tuesday can seem rather bland and unenticing — still days to go before the weekend is within reach and yet devoid of the “new week, new opportunity” enthusiasm we mustered yesterday. Luckily, that is not the case in sports. So let’s get to the good stuff: James Harden is putting up ridiculous numbers (weird), Josh McCown has been flying back to Charlotte, North Carolina, from Philadelphia twice a week to coach high school ball while playing for the Eagles this season, and the Seahawks’ wide receivers continue to raise the bar on end zone performances. Here’s today’s ESPN Daily:
So long Carolina for Cam? Earlier this season, Cam Newton — who has served as the leader and face of the Carolina Panthers franchise for much of the past eight seasons — was placed on season-ending injured reserve because the Lisfranc injury to his left foot was not responding to treatment. Now, the quarterback’s future with the Panthers seems far from certain. For all the great things he has done over his career (winning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2011, being named NFL MVP in 2015, and redefining the league record book for running quarterbacks), many factors suggest we might have seen the last of “Superman” in a Carolina jersey.
But there are plenty of teams that could benefit from Newton’s unique blend of athleticism and leadership. On today’s episode of the ESPN Daily podcast, ESPN senior NFL writer Jeremy Fowler joins host Mina Kimes to explore Newton’s memorable football life and what the Panthers could gain or lose without him. Listen here.
THINGS TO CARE ABOUT
Best scorer since Jordan … That’s right, good people — it’s time we put some respect on James Harden’s name. Nope, we’re not talking about awarding him another MVP title to add to his 2018 hardware. The recognition in question is arguably more prestigious and is a greater testament to The Beard’s entire body of work: Harden is the best scorer since Michael Jordan. Before you dismiss this statement (hi haters), let’s look at some facts:
Scored a season-high 60 points in 31 minutes against the Hawks on Saturday night — joining Klay Thompson and Kobe Bryant as the only players in the past 25 seasons to drop 60 points in just three quarters
Averaging an astounding 38.9 points per game
On pace to win third consecutive NBA scoring title His style is a rarity in pro basketball (the return of hero ball, anyone?)
He’s doing all this while paired with ball-dominant Russell Westbrook
If you’re still not convinced, Kirk Goldsberry’s got plenty more evidence where that came from. Read more.
Get you a QB who can do both …
Josh McCown is not your regular backup quarterback, nor is he your typical high school football coach.
After a highly respected 17-year NFL tenure, the QB happily announced his retirement in June and took his talents to other aspects of the game — coaching for his sons’ team in Charlotte, North Carolina, and working as an analyst for ESPN. But there was still interest around the league in McCown the player, enough so that he didn’t entirely rule out a return if the conditions were right. McCown would consider a comeback if: The team had a realistic chance to win, was located on the East Coast, and last but certainly not least — it was OK with him flying home twice a week in-season so he could continue to coach high school ball.
The Philadelphia Eagles fit the bill, and thus began McCown’s weekly flights from Philadelphia to Charlotte. ESPN’s Tim McManus tagged along to get an inside look at McCown’s dual life as he journeyed to Myers Park High’s state playoff game against Ardrey Kell on Nov. 22.
THINGS TO WATCH
TOO MUCH HYPE?
How many high school basketball teams do you know that could fill an NBA arena? How about high school hoops teams that travel with security? If you were able to recall any aside from Sierra Canyon’s boys’ basketball team, we need to know more about your hometown.
While we’re sure it comes as little shock to anyone that adding LeBron James’ eldest son and namesake to the roster throws all sense of normalcy out the window, it’s hard to imagine just how huge the hype train for a 15-year-old freshman could be until you see it firsthand.
“It felt like a Dallas nightclub came to life at a high school basketball game.” — Myron Medcalf on Sierra Canyon School vs. Duncanville in the Thanksgiving Hoopfest at American Airlines Center.
An animated crowd of 12,000 ventured to American Airlines Center on a holiday weekend hungry for signs of future excellence from the heir to the throne. Spectators cheered every time LeBron James Jr. touched the ball and were quick to vocalize their frustrations when he didn’t produce the type of play they longed to see. Yet, the most awe-inspiring part of Bronny’s shaky two-point performance (did we mention he’s just a freshman?) was his ability to ignore the noise entirely.
“Baker Mayfield has more damn commercials than wins!”
— Stephen A. Smith, on Baker Mayfield Read more
WHAT’S ON TONIGHT?
No. 4 Michigan at No. 1 Louisville (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
No. 17 Florida State at Indiana (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2)
No. 10 Duke at No. 11 Michigan State (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)
UNTIL NEXT TIME, REMEMBER …
If Bronny James can block out the noise (so much noise) at the young age of 15, you too can block out your detractors. Was that motivational? No? Hey, we tried. This has been your ESPN Daily for Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019.