The life of an emerging NASCAR superstar isn’t all bells and whistles. Sometimes it requires wearing suits and ties. Other times it means bumping into friends and relatives in the most improbable of places.

Hopefully, the folks back in Springfield, Mass., count the seasons. Winter, spring, autumn, summer. Gregg Popovich has been around so long, so ridiculously, consistently, enormously successful, he answers to a single name.

Hall of Famer left a lasting legacy on and off the field. Besides his sports skills, Gwynn also was beloved in his adopted hometown of San Diego — and beyond.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

With the NBA draft fast approaching, the Kings are in the midst of what could be called a 10-day sprint. More than at any time in recent franchise history, team executives and scouts are flooding the market, searching for talent throughout the United States and Europe, and even taking a peek in their own backyard.

S A four-game losing streak? Well, that was not going to happen. Tim Hudson is still full of surprises. The veteran right-hander who underwent major ankle surgery a year ago, who spurned his hometown team for the Giants and who has established himself as the ace of the staff, on Thursday wrapped a screen around the Nats.

Somewhere between his post-race rant and his Monday morning apology, California Chrome co-owner Steve Coburn may have stumbled onto something. His overheated reaction to losing the Triple Crown transferred the conversation about who, when and where from the backroom to the kitchen table.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Shocked. Stunned. Dazed. Confused. Preki can’t believe it, either. The Republic FC coach – our local soccer legend who was known during his playing days for his clever left foot – thinks U.S. national team coach Jürgen Klinsmann committed one of those right-foot-in-mouth mistakes by leaving Landon Donovan off his 2014 World Cup roster.

Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs’ veteran forward, says his team wants to rid themselves of “that bad taste in our mouth still” from last season’s loss to Miami in the NBA Finals.

As the recruiting process accelerates and the NBA draft on June 26 approaches, the Kings have more studying to do than a recent law school graduate preparing for the bar exam. Even with the drought, the questions are coming in waves.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Within hours of defeating Renan Barao, often referred to as the most gifted fighter of all the weight classes, TJ Dillashaw's already active life accelerated at a pace that has left him stressed, sleep-deprived and craving some good old-fashioned homespun advice.

Don’t believe him. Don’t believe a word. Until Donald Sterling signs the formal documents empowering his wife, Shelly, to sell his Los Angeles Clippers, the prudent course of action is to assume the worst. The man suffers from a chronic disease: an inability to tell the truth.

So close. So close now. When the City Council approved the city’s $255 million investment in the proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex late Tuesday evening, you could almost reach out and touch the shovel. You could see the wrecking ball swinging in the Delta breeze. You could envision the concerts, the festivals, the activity and, of course, a place for the Kings to call home.

The No. 8 draft pick? So roll the dice already. With college players routinely ditching the textbooks after their freshman and sophomore seasons, the NBA draft has morphed into a visit down the casino aisles in Las Vegas.

Further evidence of the volatile nature of NBA front offices: Memphis Grizzlies CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash were fired a few hours ago by owner Robert Pera. According to USA Today, the shakeup was the result of an internal power struggle involving Levien, Pera and team attorney David Mincberg, who had been pressing for a more influential role in basketball operations.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The last time the Tour of California started in the capital, downtown hummed like a rock concert on wheels. Tyler Hamilton, George Hincapie, Levi Leipheimer and Lance Armstrong cycled furiously down and around the streets while thousands of spectators squeezed together on sidewalks for a glimpse at the sport’s luminaries.

A The Raiders refused to scratch the itch, to ignite another controversy, to spice up the evening. They played it safe and played it smart, and they played it quickly. Long before Johnny Manziel sat and sat and sat, nervously inhaling one bottle of water after another as the NFL draft proceedings progressed, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and coach Dennis Allen exhaled in relief.

Last week was crazier than usual, and we won’t even shame the San Jose Sharks by mentioning their blown series. This weekly offering, remember, is designed to kick off your Monday morning with a smile, not a whimper. So here we go:

Hedo Turkoglu is 35 years old. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? The Kings’ first-round draft choice in 2000, he joined an organization known at the time for its shrewd and persistent poaching of overseas talent.

Adam Silver took a swing that was heard around the world. In his first significant move as NBA commissioner, he uttered the words many of us have waited decades to hear: Donald Sterling is about to become homeless.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The hand-wringing and the news conferences and the player protests are predictable and appropriate. Who isn’t outraged by the disparaging and discriminatory comments attributed to longtime Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling?

Republic FC plays in the minor leagues, in temporary digs just a few kicks away from the neighboring River Cats. But that can change. The earth can move. The demolition crew can start digging (see Downtown Plaza). The big-time action can be just around the corner.

Football coach Marshall Sperbeck’s abrupt departure leaves many questions unanswered.

Finding and acquiring top players will be a challenge

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

After missing the playoffs eight consecutive seasons and finishing with a 28-54 record for the second year in a row, there were plenty of reasons for the Kings’ “repeat” performance: Sluggish offense. Shaky defense. Too little passing. Too many blown opportunities on the home court.

Is anyone at Sleep Train Arena actually getting any sleep these days? Didn’t think so. Barely hours into the offseason, which will be far less traumatizing than the previous three years for obvious reasons – the league just said no to relocation! – the Kings owners and front-office executives are staring into the teeth of three significant personnel issues.

DeMarcus Cousins should be seated at the dinner table right now, elbowing for space and fighting for the entrees alongside Dwight Howard, Joakim Noah, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

If the speculation is true and Rick Adelman retires when the regular season ends this week, he can’t just slip out a side door this time. Not again.

Ray McCallum has certainly made the Kings’ backcourt situation more interesting. In a region known for its farm-to-fork phenomenon, what we have here is a good old-fashioned bake-off between a rookie on a late-season tear and a popular starter (Isaiah Thomas) who could sell pepperoni pizza to a vegetarian.

Sacramento’s basketball history is erratic and evolving, and let’s be honest, it’s still a little on the thin side. If someone wanted to pan for gold near Highway 49, say, maybe toss on a pair of overalls and boots and get down and dirty, he (or she) might glimpse a sparkle beneath all that muck and stuff.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The popular Kings small forward who never stopped moving without the ball, who converted three-pointers from virtually every angle in the building, walked into Sleep Train Arena tentatively, with a bit of a limp.

The shovel will be sliced into the ground, the demolition crew crushing away on site, the traffic cramping our style long before Kevin Johnson is inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Michael Malone looks like someone who actually breathes once in a while. Finally. With two weeks remaining in his first season as an NBA head coach, he sees the finish line, anticipates a very active Kings offseason in terms of trades, free agency and draft choices, knowing he will be back for Year II.

If there is any benevolence in women’s basketball, it will happen again. This year, next year, some year. Tara VanDerveer will take that two-step up the ladder, cut off a piece of the net, place it around her neck, then step back down and celebrate as she did in 1990 and 1992.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

The beginning of the end – or, really, the beginning of life after basketball – is hours, days, or at most a week away. And Sara James smiles and shakes her head, and like most adults, wonders when the calendar started to run the fast break.

His office is a little light on the furniture, so let’s just call it modern functional. There are no plants to water, no fine art hanging on the walls, no bookcases or video collections to dust. But a burger joint, a coffee bar, a restaurant, a book store and the team’s headquarters are all within a 20- to 30-second jog of Broadway.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

Vlade Divac dropped into town this week to promote the Kings organization’s fundraising and awareness efforts for UNICEF’s clean water initiative, with particular emphasis on China and India. This is a worthy cause, indeed, and an easy call for the team’s iconic center.

As his Stanford Cardinal prepares to play New Mexico on Friday in an NCAA Tournament opener in St. Louis, Robbie Lemons is hoping for the best.

Phil Jackson is the lord of the rings – 11 of them, actually – and if he’s not the smartest man in the room, he’s smart enough to know that the only way to screw up his new job as president of the New York Knicks is to pretend that it’s not a new job.

Thoughts, observations and quick hits on interesting moments, events and developments that occurred during the previous week.

During the final, fitful days of the Cold War, the last time relations between the United States and Russia were this severely strained, five young men from the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia grabbed their basketballs and traveled to the other side of the world.

Ailene Voisin, sports columnist

Ailene Voisin

Ailene Voisin was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. She earned a bachelor's degree in political science from UNLV and a law degree from the University of San Diego before committing full time to journalism.

Her career includes stops at the San Diego Union, Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and time spent as the backup beat writer for Dodgers and Angels, Clippers and NBA beat writer, sports columnist, along with numerous assignments covering international events and the Olympics. Ailene joined The Sacramento Bee in 1997.

Email: avoisin@sacbee.com
Phone: 916-321-1208
Twitter: @ailene_voisin

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