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from Tales from the Trail:

Air Obama: President’s re-election campaign goes Dream Team

President Barack Obama’s campaign fundraising “Win a date with a celebrity” lottery has gone Dream Team.

The campaign is offering donors who give at least $3 the chance to enter a lottery to attend the “Obama Classic,” a night of basketball with some of the sport’s greats -- Alonzo Mourning, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irvin -- and the player many consider its greatest, Michael Jordan.

“Imagine shooting hoops with Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Sheryl Swoopes, Kyrie Irving, and Alonzo Mourning. Oh, and you'll get to meet President Obama and Michael Jordan over dinner, too,” Obama campaign staffer Marlon Marshall said in an email to supporters.

“Hit the court with Patrick Ewing and Melo? Trade stories with the President? This is the kind of stuff your kids will tell their kids, and no one will believe it until you show them a photo,” the email said.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Soccer Break Thursday

SOCCER-CHAMPIONS/So Real Madrid finally broke their last 16 jinx and made the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2004 with a solid home performance against Olympique Lyon. Can't imagine anyone left in the draw would like to face Jose Mourinho's men when the last eight and semi-final draws are announced on Friday.

Which team would you want? Managerless Schalke 04? Real are divided on that given they would then face former striker Raul. Or Ukraine's Shakhtar Donetsk? Tottenham Hotspur would appear to be another one of the weaker teams left but at this stage of the competition any side is a threat.

from Left field:

Presidents Cup offers great golf, but not much of a competition

rtxpjomIf the "group hug" that is the Presidents Cup ever hopes to be taken seriously as an important sporting competition it needs to develop a sharper edge.

The Presidents Cup lost more than a little bit of respect as a legitimate athletic event on Saturday when smiling International captain Greg Norman raced on to the green to embrace not one of his own men but American Steve Stricker, who had just drained a 26-foot birdie putt to put a stake through his team's heart (click here for our report).

from Left field:

Tiger still tops … in pay

tiger1 Tiger Woods not only remains the highest-paid athlete according to Forbes magazine for the eighth straight year, his total compensation is more than double the next highest total. Talk about lapping the field!

Despite eight months on the shelf due to knee surgery and the end of his sponsor deal with General Motors, Woods still made $110 million over the past 12 months, Forbes said.

from Left field:

Is Phil Jackson the best coach in NBA history or just lucky?

jacksonThe man who’s become known as the “Zen Master” for tapping Buddhist teachings has been fortunate enough to coach the likes of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant as they grew into dominant superstars, but rounding their games into championship form was a never-ending battle of wills.

In his 2006 memoir, Jackson refers to Kobe as “uncoachable” for his tendency to try to win games as a solo artist. After breaking the late Red Auerbach’s record to stand alone as the first coach to win 10 NBA championships, Jackson paid tribute to Bryant for his maturity as he accepted his very first MVP award.

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