Friday Morning briefing

Former UCLA coach John Wooden, age 99, is gravely ill in a Los Angeles hospital, according to The Los Angeles Times. Reports began to circulate last night that Wooden had passed away, and The Washington Post even headlined a Wooden photo gallery with news of his death, until pulling back the headline and running a correction with the slideshow.

Through Twitter, CBS Sports’ Seth Davis said someone who had visited with Wooden described the coach as comfortable, but acknowledged that he might only have days to live.

Certainly, Wooden has become college basketball’s greatest ambassador in his days since his remarkable and unequaled run of championships at UCLA. Born in Indiana, his first coaching job was at a high school in Dayton, Ky. His team there went 6-11, his only losing record in coaching.

More to come on his remarkable life, from many quarters, I’m sure.

Two days later, the perfect game that wasn’t remains a hot topic for sportswriters, including this one. In addition to my take in the C-J print edition today, here’s the treatment some others gave it:

  • Woody Paige says Bud Selig blew the call on Armando Galarraga’s perfect game a second time. [Denver Post]
  • Tony Massarotti says public trust in officiating across sports has officially been lost. [Boston Globe]
  • Tom Boswell, who argued eloquently in Thursday’s editions that Selig should correct the blown call, provides a good recap of what happened on Thursday in Detroit, and even quotes James Joyce the writer, not the umpire — “A man’s errors are his portals of discovery.” Nice. [Washington Post]

Did anyone else catch the shout-out that ABC announcers gave to Lexington Herald-Leader sportswriter Jerry Tipton during the NBA Finals telecast? During a Rajon Rondo free throw, they talked about a Tipton story in which a UK fan wrote to call for hand-reduction surgery for the guard.

It couldn’t have gone much worse for the Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA Finals. When backup guard Nate Anderson came out onto the court in his street clothes after the game, a security guard tried to run him off. He wouldn’t have been the first L.A. person to run a Celtic off the court Thursday night. Kevin Garnett was terrible. Ray Allen couldn’t get going because of foul trouble. Rondo wasn’t his usual aggressive self. Even Glenn Davis couldn’t make his mid-range jumpers. T.J. Simers ripped Rondo — a bit unfairly — in the L.A. Times. Give credit to the Lakers. We’ll have to see if Boston can come up with an answer. Bill Plaschke correctly points out that the mystique got dented in Game 1.

More from Alabama on the Eric Bledsoe situation in The Birmingham News. Not much more substance if you’re looking for insight into his college eligibility, but a lot of squabbling among Birmingham school officials. I’ll say this now, the more bitter this local fight over Bledsoe becomes, the more dangerous it will be for the University of Kentucky to be hit by some stray crossfire in terms of allegations these local officials make about each other. [The Birmingham News]

A couple of significant injury stories from the World Cup. Ivory Coast star forward Didier Drogba is out out of the World Cup with a fractured elbow sustained in the first half of today’s exhibition with Japan. And late word is that England captain Rio Ferdinand is also out the World Cup. The center back suffered a leg injury in practice today. More to come later in my World Cup Digest.

Sally Jenkins bemoans a lack of women’s sports coverage on TV. [The Washington Post]

Dick Jerardi thinks Dale Romans’ First Dude is poised to come up big in the Belmont. [Philadelphia Daily News]

Non-sports story of the morning: The new KFC Yum! Center will open with a concert by The Eagles on Oct. 16. The Dude would not be pleased.

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