TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley was in rare form Thursday night during halftime of the network's broadcast of the Thunder-Mavericks game. The NBA legend and Auburn alumnus denied a rumor that he had given Lakers tickets to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton — a rumor started after a reporter's tweet was misconstrued — but then joked that he would have done more for Newton had he been asked.

 

The homeless Ohio man with the "God-given voice" who became an Internet sensation has received a flood of job offers, including one from the Cavaliers to do voice-overs. Take a closer look at Ted Williams, who has battled alcohol and drug problems and has a long criminal record. He's now is trying to get back on his feet with help from the Cavs, who offered to pay a mortgage so Williams could get off the streets.

 

Ron Artest has tried to be on his behavior since joining the Lakers last season. On Tuesday, Lakers coach Phil Jackson confirmed that Artest reverted to his old ways recently, confronting the coach at a recent practice because he felt Jackson was embarrassing him in public.

 

The website RealClearSports has a collection of the 10 most erroneous sports columns of 2010. There are three Boston-related items in the bunch. One is a New York Post column by Gary Myers predicting the Jets will overtake the Patriots, written in the lead-up to the Pats' Monday night rout. Another is Boston Globe Dan Shaughnessy twice predicting the Patriots' demise. The third is Cleveland News Herald writer Jim Ingraham noting that the Cavaliers don't have to worry about the Celtics in the playoffs.

 

ESPN announcer Ron Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of Saturday's Fiesta Bowl following his sexist comment toward a female sideline reporter. Franklin, 68, reportedly referred to Jeannine Edwards as "sweetcakes" during a production meeting when she attempted to join a discussion he was having with another announcer. When she complained, Franklin allegedly then swore at her. ESPN did not have time to find a replacement for Friday's Chick-fil-A Bowl but made the move for Saturday.

 

Tom Brady's memorable season was WEEI's No. 1 Story of the Year, and the Patriots quarterback also was voted by WEEI.com readers as the 2010 Athlete of the Year in balloting conducted over the past 10 days. Brady was tabbed by 48 percent of the 1,024 voters (493 votes). Teammate Wes Welker, who bounced back from reconstructive knee surgery to have another productive season in 2010, finished second with 17 percent (171 votes).

Our look at the top stories of 2010 wraps up Friday with No. 1: Tom Brady's MVP-caliber season for the Patriots. It was an eventful year for the quarterback, starting with January's disappointing performance in a playoff loss to the Ravens and including a new contract and scary car crash on the same September day. And, of course, there was all the discussion about his hair. Read more about Brady's memorable year at the LEEInks blog.

 

Graphic photos that claim to be of Michelle Ryan, wife of Jets coach Rex Ryan, surfaced on the web Thursday, a week after foot-fetish videos apparently featuring the couple were made public. In some of the photos at the celebrity gossip site mediatakeout.com, an unidentified man (not Rex) is rubbing and smelling the woman's feet. In others, the woman is on a bed in suggestive poses. According to the New York Daily News, the Jets coach will remain silent on the matter. "Coach Ryan considers this a personal matter and will have no comment," a Jets spokesman told the paper.

The Stanford women's basketball team knocked off Connecticut, 71-59, Thursday night in Palo Alto, Calif., bringing UConn's 90-game winning streak to an end. Jeanette Pohlen led Stanford with a game-high 31 points to go along with nine rebounds and six assists, as the Cardinal were in charge for most of the contest. Connecticut's Maya Moore struggled for much of the evening, finishing with 14 points, while Kelly Faris had 19 for UConn.

 

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Our look at the top stories of 2010 continues Thursday with No. 2: The Celtics' memorable playoff run and loss to the Lakers in the NBA finals. Check out Paul Flannery's recap of the C's 2010 postseason and his analysis of what it meant to the organization. And visit WEEI.com Friday to see the year's No. 1 story.