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Didn’t know Jordan Mailata had those pipes, kinda knew Joe Buck didn’t

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Jordan Mailata sings better than your team’s left tackle.

Jordan Mailata sings better than your team’s left tackle.
Screenshot: Fox

Jordan Mailata sang his ass off and probably shouldn’t have been revealed as Thingamabob on Wednesday night’s episode of FOX’s The Masked Singer. The Eagles’ offensive lineman made the transition from blocking defensive ends to singing “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi on national television.

Here’s Mailata in action:

Mailata made it one round farther than the “Ram” who was unveiled last week to be ESPN-bound commentator Joe Buck. The famous sportscaster only made it two shows before having to unmask. None of the singing competitions panelists correctly guessed Mailata’s identity, while special guest Eric Stonestreet believed Buck was inside the Ram costume alongside full-time panelist Robin Thicke.

Mailata impressed during his three performances, with wrong guesses including Jason Mamoa, J.J. Watt and Metallica lead singer James Hetfield. Wrong guesses for Buck included Matthew Stafford. It might’ve been too obvious for the Los Angeles Rams Super Bowl-winning quarterback to wear a costume that connected to his real-life job.

Buck didn’t hold back in showing off his personality during his performances of “I Want You To Want Me” by Cheap Trick and “Learn To Fly” by the Foo Fighters, belting with purpose and breaking out a dance move or two. It’s hard to convey that much emotion during a usual broadcast, as you’re commentating on other’s actions, but Buck had no problems with that. Stonestreet said the timbre of Buck’s speaking voice, modulated to sound completely different, is what gave away the longtime Fox Sports employee.

Mailata sang “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran and “Classic” by MKTO in the later rounds of his stay on the show. The 6-foot-8, 346-pound former rugby standout even pushed “Firefly,” thought to be professional singer Teyana Taylor vocally. “Firefly” advanced to the show’s season finale in several weeks, edging out Mailata, who would’ve been the first athlete to make a finale episode of the popular show. Buck and Mailata are two of four unmasked celebrities so far this season, with pastry chef and television personality Duff Goldman and Jorge Garcia, best known for his role in the TV show Lost. There are 10 more masked celebrities yet to compete this season.

Athletes with undiscovered vocal talents deserve a ton of credit, as Mailata outsang “Firefly” for much of the series for my money. Mailata and Buck join a long list of current and former athletes to compete on the show including Antonio Brown, Victor Oladipo, Rob Gronkowski, Chloe Kim and Caitlyn Jenner. Mailata ties Kim and former Cy Young winner Barry Zito for closest to winning the show. All three were one elimination away from reaching the finale.

Good on Mailata and Buck for having the guts to appear. Things could have gone terribly wrong in the spotlight, especially with rumors of Rudy Giuliani appearing as a contestant this season.



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Kilmarnock 2-1 St Johnstone

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and St Johnstone.



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Kawhi Leonard’s return puts the Clippers back in the Western Conference hunt

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Kawhi Leonard

Kawhi Leonard
Photo: AP

It’d been nearly 16 months since LA Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard played an NBA game before Tuesday night’s preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Leonard finished with 11 points in 16 minutes but, more importantly, looked to be fully recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in game four of the 2021 Western Conference semifinals against the Utah Jazz.

Last season the Clippers hung around through the first two months of the season with Paul George leading the way until he went down with an injury in late December. Paul missed over three months before returning at the end of March, but the damage had been done. The Clippers fell from the top five when George was healthy down into the play-in tournament, where they were eliminated, missing the playoffs just one year removed from the franchise’s first WCF appearance.

That’s all behind them now, because Leonard and George are back and healthy, making the Clippers a favorite in the West this year. Stacked up against the rest of the West, this LA team has the tools and depth to make a run at the Warriors’ western conference crown.

Of course, everything is predicated on Leonard’s ability to stay on the floor and be available in the postseason. Based on that notion, the Clippers have more than enough depth to compete with the best teams in the NBA. Over the last two years, head coach Tyronn Lue has proved that he’s more than a product of LeBron James. Lue can coach and has been labeled by many as the best coach in the league at adjusting.

LA should be able to go deep into their lineup, with 10 players receiving significant minutes on a given night. Having that depth should also help preserve Leonard and George through the long 82-game season.

In the backcourt alone, minutes will be tight with a six-guard rotation. Besides George, the Clippers have Reggie Jackson, Norman Powell, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, and the newest addition John Wall as players that will battle for minutes on the floor. Leonard, Ivica Zubac, Marcus Morris Sr., Nicolas Batum, and Robert Covington comprise the Clippers’ frontcourt and should all see significant minutes, depending on the matchup. And many of these players can play multiple positions.

The road to winning in the NBA is rough, but those teams with depth are usually among the last left standing in the end. Sure, this league is about stars, but those stars also need to be surrounded by pieces that fit their game and what they do best on the court. The Clippers still don’t have a true starting point guard, as Jackson is more of a combo guard, but as we’ve seen in the past, he can certainly get the job done in big moments when called upon.

But again, none of this matters without Leonard on the court when it matters. Depth is fantastic — we just saw the Warriors and Celtics meet in the Finals possessing two of the deeper rosters in the association. Hopefully, there won’t be a need for too much load management in Clipperland this year, and Leonard can play at least 65 games. That’s a feat he hasn’t accomplished since he was in San Antonio.

Again, the main goal is to keep Leonard and PG-13 healthy enough to make a run in the playoffs. This is what the Clippers should be focused on heading into the 2022-23 campaign. You get to play a lot of bad teams through the course of an NBA season. These Clippers are good enough to beat most teams in this league. Against the top four or five teams in the NBA is where stars and depth will be most important. If the Clippers can get through the season primarily healthy, there isn’t any reason they can’t be right back in the WCF. 



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David Moyes ‘extremely relieved’ with West Ham’s win over Wolves after seeing Bruno Lage sacked

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D

avid Moyes admitted he was “extremely relieved” at his West Ham side’s victory over Wolves on Saturday, having watched Bruno Lage lose his job in the aftermath of the result.

The Hammers picked up only their second Premier League victory of the season to move out of the relegation zone and are now looking to kick on when they face Anderlecht in the Europa Conference League tomorrow night.

Moyes has watched his side crawl out of the blocks in the League following a summer of significant overhaul, with eight new signings to bed in.

One report in the build-up to to the Wolves clash had suggested early pressure was beginning to build on the Hammers boss to arrest the alarming slump, but it was Lage who paid the price for his own team’s poor start as he was sacked by the Midlands club on Sunday.

“[I was] extremely relieved,” Moyes said. “Look what happened to the manager at Wolves, which was really unfortunate, and there was very little between our positions in the league.

“I’m not saying there’s no difference between my position at West Ham and his at Wolves, but certainly our league positions weren’t much different.

“But I think that’s what we’re seeing in football at the moment. An awful lot of changes. I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors at other clubs.

“At our club I’ve had great support from the owners, and everybody behind it. We think we’re trying to build something. Trying to make West Ham a consistent team in the Premier League. That isn’t an easy thing to do, but we’re trying to make a good fist of it.”

While the Hammers are only now showing signs of clicking into gear on the domestic front, in Europe, they have made a fine start with two wins from two group stage matches so far.

Victory in Belgium tomorrow would see Moyes’ side take a significant step towards sealing qualification for the knockout stage after Christmas and doing so early could afford the Scot the luxury of a dead-rubber amid the fixture pileup later in the campaign. Moyes, however, is taking nothing for granted.

“I wouldn’t in any way disrespect Anderlecht at all,” he added. “We’re away from home in Europe. It’s an incredibly difficult thing to do to come away and get results. Anderlecht are a proud club. They’ll see the chance of beating us and getting ahead of us in the group.

“But we’re going to play each other twice very quickly, and at the moment both us and Anderlecht look like the team with the most points. That could change. But [this week] is important. We’d like to win the group if we could. But, as I said last year, if we qualify and we’ve got European football after Christmas, that will be a real bonus for us once again.”



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