It’s official, gang — New York City is officially pay-phone free.

Yes, the last functioning public unit which, in case anyone born before smartphones were invented needs a refresher, was the way we called people while out and about, was taken out of service on May 23. The city held a ceremony celebrating its removal in midtown Manhattan with a city official calling it the end of the pay phone era. And yes, it is sad, because not everyone has a cell phone but a lot of people know how to use a pay phone. Alas, technology has scored another one. Wait until smartphones become obsolete and teenagers nowadays have their minds blown trying to describe them to their kids.

Anyway:

Sometimes, it just pays …

You know how a lot of athletes turn to the world of colour commentary and analysis when their playing days are done? And we think they add anything to the play-by-play? Exactly. Nothing.

JJ Redick is the latest example that most professional athletes really are as dumb as we know/think they are. For some reason, Redick thought it would be a good idea to try and convince people that today’s NBA can’t be compared to the NBA of yesteryear because you have to win more playoff series in order to be crowned champions. Oh, and players like the legendary Bob Cousy were guarded by “plumbers and firemen”. That’s what Redick said on ESPN earlier this month.

Latent sexism aside, Redick probably wasn’t expecting Cousy to respond but the 93-year-old Basketball Hall of Famer did just that by letting Redick know about some of those plumbers and firefighters he played against. Players like Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Robertson, Bob Pettit, Jerry West, etc. Cousy went on to call them perhaps the best “… firemen and plumbers on the planet at the time. And I was very proud to play with all of them.”

As well he should be. Comparing the two eras of basketball would be tough to do, much like how you can’t compare the National Hockey League circa 1972 with today’s version, but casting players like that off is not only disrespectful but just plain dumb. Chamberlain torched a few nets in his days and Russell put out some pretty big fires underneath the hoop as he helped the Boston Celtics win 10 titles during his playing days.

Can’t wait to hear which NBA legend Redick pisses off next.

The money people spend

Remember a couple of weeks back when I told you about someone spending millions of dollars on a Diego Maradona jersey from the 1986 World Cup? Welp, the money keeps on flowing.

Serena Williams is now the most valuable female athlete when it comes to trading cards. Someone shelled out $266,400 on May 22 for a 2003 NETPRO signed patch rookie card of the 23-time Grand Slam winner, according to The Athletic. Now, it should be noted that Williams was no rookie back in 2003 but the card in question was part of a NETPRO pack that hadn’t been released publicly in around a decade, thus making it a rookie card. There was some interweb scuttlebutt that maybe Alex Ohanian, Williams’ husband, had bought the card, as he has done before but he confirmed on Twitter that it wasn’t him this time.

If you’re wondering, the old record was $117,000, which was set back in January when someone bought a 1999 SI For Kids rookie card of a female athlete. That woman? Serena Williams.

And finally …

Good Idea: Thomas Ulsrud curling.

Bad Idea: Thomas Ulsrud passing away.

This one was a surprise mostly because I had no idea how sick he was but it was cancer. Takes another good one. Again.

Thomas Ulsrud was one of my favourite curlers to watch and one of the best in the business. You don’t play at 12 world championships, winning one in 2014, and three Winter Olympics without having some sort of skill. Judging from the comments from so many people, you knew he was so well-liked and loved. He leaves this life as the winningest skip in world championship history and a one-time Olympic medalist, that coming in 2010 when he scored a silver.

But it’s the pants. Everyone knows Ulsrud and his rinks for their pants. Loudmouth Golf was the company which made them and everywhere they went, you knew who they were simply because they always had that look of a group of men who just stole the drapes out of a mobile home. Even John Daly, who made Loudmouth Golf popular, took notice and gave Ulsrus and company a bunch of praise.

But it’s the curling that Ulsrud will be known for more than anything and while the game will go on, it will do so having lost one of its best. Sleep well, Thomas.

Until next time, folks …

James McCarthy

After being a nomad around North America following my semi-debauched post-secondary days, I put down my roots in Yellowknife in 2006. I’ve been keeping this sports seat warm with NNSL for the better...

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