Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports.
This week they discuss the Paralympic spirit, a good day for King James, the future of football in Toronto and one truly ugly game at Staples Center.
Bruce Arthur, The National Post: My thumb is up to the Paralympics, which began Friday in Sochi, or, more specifically to the Paralympians involved. There were calls for athlete boycotts after Russia sent troops into Ukraine the day after the Olympics ended, but an athlete boycott was a silly and callous idea; it would have no effect on the invasion except to deprive those who push the edge of human possibility from something they deserve, even in a diminished spotlight. Instead, at the opening ceremony Friday, we saw a significant political statement from Ukraine, which sent just one of its 23 athletes to march in the opening ceremony. We didn't see anything that meaningful two weeks ago; I'm glad we saw it now. The Paralympics, and Paralympians, deserve whatever spotlight they get.
Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to LeBron James, and not for being the best player in the NBA or for the career-high 61 points he tossed up the other night. LeBron travelled last night to Cleveland, between games and against the advice of the Miami Heat, so he could be part of the ceremony that honoured his former Cavaliers teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. LeBron played more games with Ilgauskas as a teammate than anyone else he has played with in his 11-year career and he wanted to be there for his good friend and to see him honoured. In an NBA world in which selfishness reigns supreme, King James showed another side of himself last night. A surprisingly likable side.
Dave Naylor, TSN Radio: My thumb is up to the Buffalo Bills who this week pulled the plug - at least for one year - on the Bills in Toronto series. For something that once stirred rabid debate across this country, the Bills playing in Toronto turned out to be much ado about nothing. The product was lousy, the prices too high and – oh, yes - that infamous news conference. But what also became obvious was the disconnect between Toronto's sports fans and somebody else's NFL team. I don't know if there will ever be another NFL game played in Toronto, but the only way it makes sense is if one of the teams playing is Toronto.
Dave Hodge, TSN: It was going to be "thumbs down" to the LA Lakers for the worst game in their history - that would be Thursday's loss by 48 points to the Clippers - but really, it should be "thumbs up" to the Lakers for their contribution to the anti-tanking movement, which seeks to change the NBA's draft lottery. There's no proof that the Lakers tanked against the Clippers, except the scoreboard, and the 18,000 eyewitnesses at Staples Center, and the open encouragement of a "Riggin for Wiggins" campaign. The NBA needs to act, and the NHL needs to follow before next season a strategy unfolds that could be known as "Lose honor, get Connor".