Bleacher Report

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Pompei

'The Sky's the Limit': Marcus Mariota Is Ready for Superstardom

Chugging tallboy cans of working-class beer, holding a catfish overhead and removing their shirts, the five starting offensive linemen of the Tennessee Titans fired up the crowd at Bridgestone Arena before Game 3 of the NHL's Western Conference Final between the Nashville Predators and Anaheim Ducks. The quarterback waved a rally towel. You might have assumed Marcus Mariota really wasn't one of the guys—that he was just there because the Predators wanted the sizzle from his big name. You might have remembered NFL scouts had concerns about his leadership ability when they were studying him prior to the 2015 draft. You might wonder how a soft-spoken teetotaler ever could be respected by those burly, tattooed, wild-eyed men.
Snowden

Paulie Malignaggi: Conor McGregor Had 'Dark Intentions' in Sparring Session

Former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi (36-8), now an announcer for Showtime, knew something was up the minute he walked into the UFC's new performance institute to square off for a second time with the promotion's lightweight champion. The first time he'd sparred with Conor McGregor, who is preparing for a bout with boxing's greatest contemporary fighter, Floyd Mayweather, things were quite a bit different. That session was about putting in work, a private, gritty affair where the few men in the gym had to leave their cellphones in a box to ensure no unauthorized video or pictures leaked out.
Schilling

Ranking the 10 Best Trolls of the 2016-17 NBA Season

After seeing supposed mortal enemies Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving join in an interpretive dance that may or may not have been a dig against LeBron James, I'm starting to think the rules of polite society we all are forced to adhere to at birth do not apply to NBA players. I'm not sure anyone would want to be my friend if, let's say, I implied I was the reason they went bald or allegedly suggested through surrogates that I would like to beat said friend's ass for wanting to work somewhere else. NBA players do this kind of stuff all the time. They also sometimes claim Earth is flat, but that's another article for another time.
Lee

'He's a F--king Monster': Tim Duncan's Kickboxing Trainer Opens Up

There's something striking about watching a 7-footer kickbox. Even more so when that 7-footer is perhaps the greatest power forward in NBA history, Tim Duncan. (Fine, fine, he's listed at 6'11" and mostly played center, but you get the point.) Jason Echols of Echols Fitness in San Antonio recently posted a video on Facebook of him and the Spurs legend kickboxing—a clip that quickly accumulated nearly 200,000 views. To find out what it's like to fight one of the greatest basketball players ever to live, we asked Echols himself, who's been training Duncan for nearly a decade. Echols spoke to Bleacher Report about how he began working with Duncan, whether The Big Fundamental is as vanilla as he is stereotyped to be and what it's like to watch the recent retiree fight another Spurs legend—The Admiral, David Robinson.
Dunne

It's Time for the NFL to Remember What It Means to Get Gronked

His football career should be in peril. The indomitable force should be, once and for all, finished. On Nov. 13, 2016, Rob Gronkowski absorbed an Earl Thomas lampoon of a hit to the chest and suffered a pulmonary contusion. On Nov. 27, against the Jets, he injured his back (yet again) and went under the knife for his ninth reported surgery. The Patriots won the Super Bowl anyway. So this would be a fitting end, a perfect retirement. He pounded beers, then spiked those beers as "Jump Around" and "All I Do Is Win" blared through the victory parade in downtown Boston. Gronk seriously one-handed one beer from a fan in the crowd before chugging and spiking.
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