ESPN NFL Insider Mike Sando is firing up a Facebook Q&A to talk about the latest NFL happenings. Get your questions in now!

My latest column for ESPN Insider ( says that while the San Francisco 49ers' do have contractual...

Posted by Mike Sando on Friday, October 2, 2015

Comment »

LeBron James and Stephen CurryAP Photo/Ben Margot

Recently we brought you the top 10 players, as rated by the latest "NBA 2K" game.

The ratings for "NBA Live 16" also are here -- and they're quite a bit different.

Here's the top 10 (and ties):

1. LeBron James (97)

2. Kevin Durant (96)

T-3. Anthony Davis (95)

T-3. Marc Gasol (95)

T-3. Blake Griffin (95)

T-3. James Harden (95)

T-3. Chris Paul (95)

T-8. LaMarcus Aldridge (94)

T-8. DeMarcus Cousins (94)

T-8. Stephen Curry (94)

T-8. Russell Westbrook (94)

That's right: LeBron James (no surprise) is No. 1, 2014 NBA MVP Kevin Durant is No. 2, and a handful of talented stars across positions come in tied for third.

Meanwhile, the reigning NBA MVP is tied for eighth -- definitely an eye-opening number for a player many consider the best in the league. Then again, perhaps "NBA Live" is drawing upon more than just last season for its ratings; few before 2014-15 had Curry in that top-player-overall conversation.

Comment »

There have been plenty of "pinch me" moments for LeBron James and his buddies-turned-business partners as they've gone from kids growing up in poverty-stricken neighborhoods in Northeast Ohio to living the good life.

They've spent time with President Obama, developed a television series loosely based on their lives, and they've been recognized for being young leaders in their field.

James has brought childhood friends Maverick Carter, Randy Mims and Rich Paul along for the ride as he has crossed over from basketball phenom to renaissance man, experiencing success in everything from acting to investing.

And now his pals are starting to experience acclaim of their own.

Carter was a guest speaker at the Harvard Business School on Tuesday to share the story behind LRMR, the firm that James established with his friends in 2005 to manage all the marketing and business opportunities that came his way.

Illustrating how James' crew supports one another to this day, after Carter posted a photo speaking to the Harvard students on his Twitter account, Mims and James posted a collage of photos depicting Carter playing professor to their respective Instagram accounts.

"I think it's pretty cool the professors there would even allow Maverick and allow us to use our case study for their students," James said Wednesday, alluding to the case study that Harvard professors Anita Elberse and Jeff McCall published in 2009 about James and his friends' business venture. "To be at Harvard and to be very respected there, it's a true definition of continuing to learn over the years, continue to push the envelope, push the boundaries of what we can do not only on the floor but off the floor."

When James fired agent Aaron Goodwin in 2005 and subsequently established LRMR, there were plenty of naysayers. James heard the same criticism in 2012 when he parted ways with agent Leon Rose and put Paul in place as his primary representative.

Meanwhile, James has nothing but praise for the way his friends, and Carter in particular, have managed his career.

"I think he's handled it the best way he could handle a situation like this," James said. "It's a rare case of me being the person I am both basketball player and off the floor. We've all learned, we've had bumps and bruises along the way, but it has only made us stronger and made us who we are today.

"About 12 years ago when I decided to part ways with my agent, there were 150 million articles about how I was making a mistake to hire the people around me that I trusted -- Maverick, Rich and Randy -- and start LRMR and how everything would fall to pieces. Those pieces have made a beautiful portrait at this point."

Comment »


Isaac Lufkin was born without arms, but he hasn't let that stop him from pursuing his dreams -- and inspiring others along the way.

According to the Bangor Daily News, the 16-year-old junior serves as a kicker and nose tackle for the junior varsity football team at Houlton High School in Houlton, Maine.

Lufkin does not seek or demand special treatment; rather he prefers to blend in with his teammates. He is a big proponent of the concept of "team" and thrives on the camaraderie the sport offers:

"I like being part of a team because you're with guys who have your back and you can have their backs. It's more just about having that trust."

And the feeling is mutual. His Houlton teammates credit Lufkin's example for setting the right tone within their team:

"His positive attitude is like an aura," Houlton freshman lineman Dolton Nason said. "He makes the best of every situation and that just kind of spreads around the team."

Lufkin is just like any other teenager -- he enjoys listening to Eminem and watching sports in his spare time (his favorite player is former Baltimore Ravens great Ray Lewis) -- except that every day he is faced with a stigma that he "can't do things."

But not on the Houlton football team. As head coach Dan O'Connell of rival school John Bapst told him when bestowing him with a game ball:

"It wasn't because of the fact that you don't have arms, it's about the fact that you're doing what you're doing and inspiring people. I know for one we are inspired by what you're doing, so keep it going."

(H/T Bangor Daily News)

Comment »

Stephen Curry wasn't a nobody coming out of Davidson -- he went seventh overall in 2009 NBA draft, not 57th. But that means six players were taken ahead of him, including (gulp) Hasheem Thabeet and Johnny Flynn.

The reasons? We'll let Curry tell you himself, as he read from (possibly paraphrased) excerpts from uncredited pre-draft scouting reports in this web ad posted Tuesday:

Now, before we go all "Curry just silenced the haters!" on everyone, we should remember: Some of those were common criticisms when he entered the league. Observers knew he was a great shooter, but several other skills were lacking ... at the time.

Which makes Curry's rise from mid-lottery prospect to NBA MVP so remarkable. Between hard work and smart work, here's betting Curry has surpassed what 99.9 percent of people expected of him.

Comment »