Former NBA star Steve Francis is finding the going rough as a professional in China. The 33-year-old Beijing Ducks guard is struggling, and his frustration is showing. He reportedly entered his first game with an ice pack still on his ankle — and played (albeit only 17 seconds) with the ice. And on Tuesday he received a "serious warning" from the Chinese Basketball Association for making an obscene gesture on the bench. The league also ordered Francis' team to "educate and criticize" the player for his "uncivilized behavior."

 

I have a platonic female friend who has everything a woman could ask for: good looks, her health, nice career, great husband, a new baby who’s so cute that looking directly at her could cause temporary blindness. She’s got everything she could want with the exception of me, since I only have eyes for my own Sweet Irish Rose.



Patriots fans might get a chuckle, but Giants coach Tom Coughlin is not dealing well with his team's disastrous loss to the Eagles on Sunday. At Monday's press conference, he told reporters: "What did I do? I sat in a room with the lights out for about two and a half hours. It’s not funny. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be." Coughlin said he is moving forward with punter Matt Dodge, despite berating him on the field for not kicking the ball out of bounds as instructed on the game-winning touchdown that completed a fourth-quarter meltdown.

Jets coach Rex Ryan returned to his emotional ways, tearing up before his team in a meeting Saturday night, and it helped inspire the Jets to a victory over the Steelers in Pittsburgh on Sunday. Said receiver Jerricho Cotchery: "To see that passion from Rex shows you how much he cares about it. It has an effect on you as a player. You want to go out there and give it all for our coach who's up there crying. 
Our coach is a very passionate guy. To see how much he cares, to see him pulling it out up there, there was a sense of, 'Let's go.

Ron Artest takes honest introspection to a new level for a professional athlete. Before his Lakers met his former team, the Pacers, on Wednesday, Artest was frank about his immature behavior when he played in Indiana from 2002-06. "A coward, I was a coward," he said. "When you do coward stuff, you feel like a coward. I don't care if it was done intentionally or by mistake, you're still a coward. I don't care how young I was. That's not an excuse."

 

With the Knicks losing another game to the Celtics but claiming they've earned respect, New York moves on to prepare for Friday night's arrival from LeBron James and go back to complaining about how the superstar spurned New York to sign with the Heat in the summer. James explained yesterday some of his thinking about choosing a more established team over a struggling franchise. "Winning appeals to me. And it's all about winning. I'm not about saving franchises or saving this or that," he said.

Michael Vick said he wants to get a dog. The Eagles quarterback, who spent 18 months in prison for his role in allowing the fighting and abuse of dogs on his compound, said in an interview with NBC News on Tuesday that having a pet would show that his transformation is complete. "I would love to get another dog in the future," he said. "I think it would be a big step for me in the rehabilitation process.

 

As anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m a Christmas person. I’m one of those saps who gets all doe-eyed and misty at holiday time. I believe with all my heart the holidays are the time to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have. And for those of who love sports and are lucky enough to live in Boston, our blessings this year are many.



Controversial Clippers owner Donald Sterling has been known to heckle players from his Staples Center courtside seat. The surprising thing is, its his own players he’s been heckling. The latest player to be on the receiving end of obnoxious comments from his boss is guard Baron Davis. Center Chris Kaman also acknowledged being the subject of taunts. “All kinds of stuff, Kaman said. “Some stuff like, ‘Oh, dunk the ball.’ He owns the team. What do you want me to say? He’s my boss. He signs the check.”

 

It's not uncommon for a sports writer to pen a column before a game so that it's ready to be published right when the contest ends. It is uncommon, however, for a newspaper to put the story on its website before the game is played. It happened Monday when William C. Rhoden's column noting the demise of the Patriots and the rise of the Jets was made available to the readers of The New York Times website before the Pats rolled to a 45-3 victory.