With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, this week marks the unofficial end of spring. It also brings us closer to end of the NBA and NHL seasons. Those playoff series start this week’s batch of conversation starters. Remember these are great ways to spark conversation at the office, with clients or with absolute strangers. Conversations lead to opportunities, so let’s start talking.
NBA Playoffs – We should know by the end of the week, which two teams will be playing in the NBA Finals. The series between Miami and Chicago has been more of a defensive matchup than the Western Conference Finals between Dallas and Oklahoma City. Do you want to see LeBron James and the Heat advance to the Finals? How much has each team’s bench helped them get to this point?
NHL Playoffs – We’ll also know which two teams are playing for the Stanley Cup. That’s the trophy awarded to the championship team. Vancouver looks strong after a record setting game 4 against San Jose. Vancouver scored 3 power play goals in the span of 1 minute 55 seconds. The fastest 3 power play goals, in team playoff history and the fastest in NHL playoff history under the current rules. Boston and Tampa Bay are tied at 2 games apiece in their series. Which teams have the best chance to advance? Who are you rooting for?
MLB – Baseball fans had a chance to see the first interleague series of the year over the weekend. Interleague is the term that describes when American League and National League teams play against each other. Recently managers, players and media members are starting to speak out about the negative effects it has on the teams. Here’s the problem – in National League games pitchers take their turn in the batting order and hit. The American League uses Designated Hitters and pitchers don’t hit. This causes major disparities when pitchers are forced to hit in National League parks. How do you feel about interleague play? Which league do you prefer to watch?
Racing – Rain interrupted Bump Day at Daytona 500 qualifying Sunday. Danica Patrick survived however, and she’ll be in the field for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 next week. Alex Tagliani became the first Canadian to earn the pole for the Indy 500. The race takes place at The Brickyard, which is racing’s version of Wrigley Field or Fenway Park. Where do you think the race ranks among all-time great sporting events? The Indy 500 is one of the most important races of the year, how do you think the pressure will affect the drivers?
Lance Armstrong – He retired from cycling (for a second time) earlier this year, but his name is back in the news. Former teammate Tyler Hamilton says Armstrong took part in a doping program and encouraged others to do the same in order win the Tour de France. Armstrong won cycling’s most prestigious race every year between 1999-2005. How much stock do you place in the latest accusations? What, if anything, needs to happen to clean up the sport?
Tennis – The French Open is underway. Novak Djokovic continued his perfect season into the first round of play. He is now 38-0 this season and is the co-favorite along with Rafael Nadal to win the French Open. Djokovic needs 5 more wins to break John McEnroe’s Open era record of 42 for the best unbeaten start. Do you think he can do it this week? Nadal is considered the best player on clay, but Djokovic has already beat him twice on that surface. Should Nadal be worried about the 24 year old?