Best Sports Stuff Right Now: Rivalries, Middle Fingers and Giving (No) Thanks!

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistNovember 23, 2016

Best Sports Stuff Right Now: Rivalries, Middle Fingers and Giving (No) Thanks!

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    Andrew Weber/Getty Images

    With the holidays on fast approach and major sports serving up special slates, it's a great time to be a sports fan.

    But other than the turkey, stuffing and gravy, the world of sports offers plenty outside of holiday festivities. Think guys like Stephen Curry going the extra mile off the court, shocking teams gunning for titles and the hilarity that is NFL kickers being unable to do their jobs.

    It's a short work week for most, with sports acting as hosts via entertainment. Before settling in and digging in, let's take a look at the best sports stuff right now.

Thanks: Cam Newton Hosts Thanksgiving

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is one superstar feeling the holiday spirit.

    Newton will once again host "Cam's Thanksgiving Jam" in an effort to provide holiday cheer for 800 children and their families. According to CBS Baltimore, the star quarterback provides entertainment, brings celebrities along for the ride and even serves up some food himself.

    Anyone have a letter to write about that?

Thanks: Stephen Curry Makes a Special Visit

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    Aaron Gash/Associated Press

    Newton isn't the only superstar out spreading the cheer this holiday season—not with Stephen Curry making the rounds. 

    Most outside of the Bay Area might not love the Golden State Warriors on the court, but everyone should love this: Curry recently visited seven-year-old Brody Stephens, who has been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

    The whole scene, provided by CBSSports.com's Ananth Pandian, is epic.

    Kudos, Steph.

Thanks: College Football's Best Weekend Arrives

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    Ohio State-Michigan. Alabama-Auburn. Washington-Washington State. Clemson-South Carolina.

    It's Rivalry Week, folks, with this year looking more important than ever as many top-tier matchups feature major College Football Playoff implications.

    Most notably, The Game features No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State on top of countless other storylines involving the two prestigious programs.

    Special holiday contests or not, the NFL is far from the only game in town this week.

Thanks: Crying Jordan Makes It to the White House

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    The motherload of all memes, Crying Jordan, is absolutely something sports fans should be thankful for this week.

    President Obama hosted the Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony Tuesday, with Michael Jordan the recipient of the award after an epic speech from the president, transcribed here.

    Of course, we didn't hesitate to slap the Crying Jordan on the whole thing. Enjoy.

No Thanks: Doug Baldwin Has a Certain Hand Gesture for His Coach

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    All Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin wants to do is score touchdowns, man.

    Baldwin did just that in Week 11 but not how you might expect. 

    Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell dialed up a trick play featuring Baldwin tossing a pass to quarterback Russell Wilson.

    Bevell received a middle finger plain as day from his star wideout on national television.

    And, of course, Wilson caught the touchdown pass. No thanks near the holidays, Doug.

Thanks: Dallas Cowboys Celebrate Thanksgiving

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    The Dallas Cowboys clearly know a thing or two about celebrating Thanksgiving.

    Above, one can find Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Dak Prescott and others putting together an odd celebratory feast. We're talking cereal, hot sauce, milk splashing and a "too much sauce" reference for the hip kids.

    If this is Thanksgiving, imagine how the 9-1 Cowboys would celebrate a Super Bowl.

No Thanks: Whatever This Is

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    No thanks, Orlando Magic fans.

    To be fair, this is probably a good embodiment of how sports fans would act given the short week and epic slate of games on the horizon. Thinking about it and seeing it in action, though, is a different conversation entirely.

    Alas, one can't knock Orlando fans too much. The Magic haven't had nearly as much success as their other notable Floridian counterpart as of late, the Miami Heat, but the supporters still bring the dabs.

Thanks: Vin Scully Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

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    Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press

    It was only a matter of time before legendary baseball broadcaster Vin Scully hit the White House.

    Scully was present there Tuesday with President Obama and Jordan as well, though there weren't any funny memes floating around his medal presentation.

    Just a good old presentation for one of the greatest to ever do it.

    A tip of the hat to Scully, voice of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers for 67 seasons.

No Thanks: Spiders Invade Baseball

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    Kathy Willens/Associated Press

    Fans of a new baseball team actually picked a spider as a mascot.

    2016 is just an odd year. The new Fond du Lac Northwoods League baseball team will forever carry the name "Dock Spiders" after fans shot down other awesome names such as Barn Owls, Lake Flies and Shantymen.

    And the logo? Terrifying. Halloween was last month, Wisconsin.

Thanks: Thursday NFL Triple-Header

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    Roger Steinman/Associated Press

    Turkey Day couldn't ask for much of a better slate.

    First up is a showdown between the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions. The former has fallen off the proverbial cliff, while the latter quietly sits on track for the playoffs at first in the NFC North.

    It's more divisional goodness in the second game, an NFC East bout between the Washington Redskins and Cowboys. Washington doesn't get the hype Dallas receives but shouldn't go disrespected at 6-3-1.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers and Indianapolis Colts close out the day. Both might sit on 5-5 records, but both also have eyes on the playoffs thanks to good standing in their respective divisions.

    Unlike many Thursday games this year, this holiday slate can't go wrong.

No Thanks: Matthew Dellavedova Goes Hollywood

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    Who doesn't want a Matthew Dellavedova movie?

    The Australian star is a global sensation—an undrafted free agent who just won a title with the Cleveland Cavaliers before inking a starting gig with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

    Now, Dellavedova has put ink to paper on a movie deal chronicling his life and career. Baller.

Thanks: The 76ers Have a Winning Streak!

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    Matt Slocum/Associated Press

    The Process works!

    For the first time in 108 straight games, a number tallied by ESPN Stats & Info, the Philadelphia 76ers have won back-to-back games. It's a feat the 76ers hadn't accomplished since March 2015 (h/t Yahoo Sports' Dan Devine).

    The victims? The Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat. Those teams just helped make history, but the next question is simple: When does this epic tear stop?

No Thanks: Derrick Rose Crashes Thanksgiving

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    Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

    Now for the week's sad and funny story all balled into one.

    Derrick Rose has a new home with the New York Knicks, but it seems like he left his family in Chicago. 

    No matter—he just made Carmelo Anthony's his own, as he told ESPN.com's Ian Begley about Thanksgiving at his teammate's house: 

    My mom and everybody, my son, will be back in Chicago. So yeah, I'm thankful I have somewhere to go. I just asked where his family's (going) and asked if it was cool if I came over. He said yeah so I don't think I have to bring anything but an appetite. Yeah, that's the only thing I have to bring right now.

    Nobody can ever say Melo isn't a good teammate.

Thanks: A Beast Arises in the East

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Don't look now, but the Charlotte Hornets are 8-5 and on the fast track to the playoffs as one of the NBA's biggest surprises this side of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The Hornets get 24.7 points per game from Kemba Walker and play great defense, suggesting an ability for the team to take the place of former contenders such as the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference.

    Sports Illustrated's Bradley Heltzel summed it up:

    It’s unclear if the Hornets' ceiling is anything more than a second-round exit, but even winning one playoff series would be monumental for a franchise that just won its first three playoff games last year. If Charlotte gets a couple favorable matchups, though, it could be Clifford's group that earns the right to the arduous task of trying to finally dethrone the King in the East.

    The Eastern Conference has a new problem on its hands.

No Thanks: The NFL's Kicking Problem

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    About NFL kickers not being able to do their jobs.

    The NFL wanted more drama and decided to move extra-points attempts back. This isn't exactly what the league wanted—in Week 11, kickers missed a silly 12 extra points, breaking a post-merger record, according to Elias Sports Bureau (h/t ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert).

    It gets worse.

    Just look at a note provided by ESPN's Mark Dominik on Twitter: "NFL kickers are 44/45 on Field Goals from 32-33 yards this year, but have missed an astounding 48 extra points from that same distance."

    Huh?

    This odd development isn't necessarily making NFL games more entertaining, but it does make fans actually watch after a touchdown. Don't get up to reload on turkey this Thanksgiving until the games actually cut to commercial.

       

    Follow Chris Roling (@Chris_Roling) on Twitter.