By Matthew O'Connor

SOME may see the following as a crazy attempt to get the words Spurs, Title and Won into the same sentence, however it is nothing more than a short piece to highlight that not all sportsmen or women are money-grabbing traitors. Now, most readers of this column will probably laugh about the sport of basketball, but once you get to know it you realise it happens to be one of the most exciting and demanding sports known to man. On Sunday night, David Robinson, one of the best exponents of basketball in the sport's history, bowed out after an illustrious career. He had just won the NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs (there, did it). In the days of players in any team sport moving to another team as quickly as you can say blank cheque Robinson is unique. The seven-foot tall player spent his entire 14 years career with the Spurs, winning two NBA titles, as well as two Olympic gold medals in 1992 and 1996. Robinson, nicknamed “the Admiral” due to his college years at the US Naval Academy, is one of the most liked and respected players in American sport, but a lot of that is not down to his amazing sporting prowess, his talent to slam dunk the basketball without an ounce of effort, or his ability to swot away shots from opposing players with ease. It is down to his charitable nature. Robinson's statistical figures may be impressive but perhaps more impressive is the figure he donated to the Carver Academy, an independent school he founded to help San Antonio's underprivileged children; A whopping $9 million. Not to mention any names, but while many English football players are off shooting their latest porno video in Cyprus or traipsing around the jungles of Eastern Asia in the hope of increasing their “brand image recognition” by another 2 percent, Robinson is out working with the homeless or with needy kids. When Robinson retired on Sunday the sport of basketball, and sport in general, lost a great humanitarian and an extremely generous person.
SEPP Blatter, the portly president of FIFA, has said some players playing in Spain may face sanctions for ignoring guidelines over the scheduling of this month's Confederations Cup. Players such as France playmaker Zinedine Zidane and Brazil striker Ronaldo are missing the tournament because they are still fighting it out for the Spanish league title with Real Madrid. Surely though, the players have very little say in when the Spanish league ends and when the Confederations Cup starts. In fact I would suppose, as the sports governing body, FIFA would have the ultimate say on both decisions. I fully back the fact that players should turn out for their country before their club, however, when something as obviously a marketing gimmick as the Confederations Cup clashes with the last match of an extremely tense season then I have to back the players. If Blatter feels the need to sanction anyone, then why not ban the FIFA Calendar Planning Committee for a few months. If there is one.
It's not often that I long for the start of Wimbledon. Don' t get me wrong, I love watching high class tennis on the beautiful SW19 grass, it's the Henmania that's plastered on nearly every single page of nearly every single newspaper that really puts me off. Not this year, however. I can't wait to see those glossy pictures of Tiger Tim in action, the headlines about sore shoulders and the fact the grass should be shorter, and the in-depth articles by people in the know like Pat Cash and Boris Becker reassuring us that Henman still has another few years to crack the centre court just in case he goes out in the semis as per usual. And why am I so excited about this prospect? Because it will hopefully knock some of the excruciatingly boring articles about David Beckham out of the papers.

How sad our lives are. We spend hours speculating on, and reading about, the possible future of a rather average player made out to be the best footballer in the history of mankind. Desperate, we are, for our daily intake of which Madrid school the Beckham kids will attend or which Barcelona cafe Posh will frequent.

Well, I for one, am thoroughly sick of it all.
If he signs for Barcelona, great. If he signs for Real Madrid, great. If he plays on the wing instead of Figo, great. If he leads Barça from the middle, great. Just let me know when it definitely happens because I really can't face reading anymore about what an “Old Trafford insider” has said, or a “Real Madrid spokesman” claims. No more can I sit through yet another news item on television featuring experts pondering the likelihood of Posh getting her own Italian television series.

Please, please, please no more Beckham speculation. Bring on Tim! At least for a few days!

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