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On Tuesday, reposted an article published by Outkick that ridiculed former NBA forward Josh Smith over an alleged comment he made about LeBron James.

According to the – [checks notes] – Ballsack Sports account on Twitter, Smith, who debuted in the NBA one year after LeBron, supposedly said,

It’s a different game back then, much more physical.

I don’t think he has the jumpshot or skills to really consistently dominate defenses then as he does today. There’s so much more spacing in today’s game. We had 2-3 guys on a star player on any given night. Nothing was easy.

Again, the source for the “quote” is Ballsack Sports.

Former NBA player Josh Smith says LeBron wouldn’t be as dominant in his era

— Ballsack Sports ®  (@BallsackSports) February 1, 2022

Outkick writer Gary Sheffield Jr., who – in case you are wondering – is indeed the son of former major leaguer Gary Sheffield, wrote a very earnest rebuttal to the fake Josh Smith quote.

“It’s called jealousy,” wrote Sheffield. “Want me to prove it? That early 2000s NBA Smith alludes to that ‘didn’t have as much space as today’s game’ is largely because of players, like Josh Smith, lacking skill.”

In the piece, which ran with, Sheffield even acknowledged that the careers of Smith and LeBron pretty much overlapped. James is still active, of course. Smith’s last season was 2017.

“And let’s not forget Josh Smith just said ‘back then’, that implies he played in an era prior to LeBron James. That’d be false. Smith was drafted in 2004 — otherwise known as the year AFTER LeBron James. Perhaps he’s just upset James worked at his game and continues to dominate in year 18 while Smith plays in Japan or whatever the hell he does with his time these days.”

Smith played in the Chinese Basketball Association during the 2016-17 season. For the record, China is not Japan.

Outkick and both removed the article from their sites. The Fox News link leads to a 404 page that informs readers, “Something has gone wrong.”

After its “story” got picked up, Ballsack Sports had a grand old time relishing in the moment.

????????????????I can’t

— Ballsack Sports ®  (@BallsackSports) February 2, 2022

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High School Sports | Top-ranked Serra stays hungry, beats St. Francis with a big second half

MOUNTAIN VIEW – We know “Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose” – the slogan of the fictional Dillon High football team in the TV series “Friday Night Lights.”

But Serra High can counter with this: “Head down. Belly empty.”

“That’s what our coach likes to say,” said Serra senior receiver and captain Joey Villaroman. “Just be hungry.”

The slogan carried special meaning for Serra, which pulled away from St. Francis, 29-7, with a big second half in a West Catholic Athletic League opener Friday at Brother Fischer Field.

Serra was forced to stay hungry because of the four-game gauntlet the Padres, the Bay Area News Group’s top-ranked team, opened the season with. Despite each nonleague victory over the likes of Folsom, De La Salle, and Central Catholic – each a regional power – the Padres were forced to regather themselves each time or risk a letdown.

It didn’t happen. Serra, Folsom, and De La Salle are ranked 4-through-6 in the Cal-Hi Sports state rankings, and St. Francis is No. 49. But only Serra among them is 4-0.

“You look at the schedule and you see those games lined up … it’s been really hard. I’m not going to lie,” Serra coach Patrick Walsh said. “It’s been a grind, but I’m so proud of how everyone has dealt with it. We’ve spent a lot of energy to get to this point.”

St. Francis “hung tough,” as coach Greg Calcagno said, but “we’ve got to finish.”

Instead, Serra extended an 8-7 halftime lead with 21 unanswered points through the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to win going away.

Serra High’s Maealiuaki Smith (7) prepares to pass the ball during the Serra at St. Francis football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Mountain View, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

Maealiuaki Smith completed 20 of 28 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for the Padres, who held St. Francis to only 96 yards and prevented the Lancers from gaining a first down until their fifth possession.

St. Francis (1-3), the defending WCAL champion, managed only 23 yards on 23 carries and was unable to mount much of a passing attack to make up for it. Seamus Gilmartin, Danny Niu, and Collin Tahitua had sacks, and Jaden Green intercepted a pass for Serra.

Offensively, Serra decided to simplify its game plan by being patient and taking what the defense was giving rather than looking for the big play. The Padres noticed that the St. Francis corners were lining up deep enough to give up the short outside passes, and that’s where Serra attacked throughout the second half.

When St. Francis got wise, Jayden Weber sliced through the Lancers’ zone for a 25-yard scoring reception to put Serra ahead 15-7 with 8:18 left in the third quarter. After a St. Francis three-and-out, the Padres went to Villaroman three times on the next drive, including a three-yarder on fourth-and-goal for a 22-7 lead.

Walsh knew Villaroman, who had six catches for 62 yards, would have a big game. During the team’s day-before-a-game chapel service following Thursday’s practice, Villaroman spoke to his teammates about not taking any game or opportunity for granted.

“My sophomore year, I tore my ACL,” Villaroman said Friday about his message to the team. “I did everything I could to come back, but I came back too early and tore it again my first game back. It’s taken everything to come back – to work hard and not feel sorry for myself.

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“I just wanted the team to know, don’t take any game for granted. I was on top of the world and it was all taken away. Every game, I’m coming out as hard as I can, because I never know if it might be my last. I definitely learned that first hand.”

Villaroman’s words were so moving and heartfelt that, “when I heard him speak, I knew he was going to have a great night,” Walsh said. “When someone expresses energy like that, it usually matches with a really strong performance and that’s what we got from Joey.”

Serra’s brutal schedule continues next Friday when it plays host to undefeated Archbishop Mitty in another WCAL showdown. Meanwhile, St. Francis will try to halt a three-game losing streak at St. Ignatius.

“Serra’s a very good football team, probably the best that Patrick’s had,” Calcagno said. “I’m proud of our guys, there are things we can build on. I’m very proud of our effort, but obviously not the result. But there are things we can build on. We’ll keep working on those.”

Serra High’s Sam Goligoski (6) and Serra High’s Malachi Gastrock (13) celebrate after a touchdown during the Serra at St. Francis football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Mountain View, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)  St. Francis High’s Derek Gile (13) fails to receive the ball during the Serra at St. Francis football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Mountain View, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)  A view of the game through St. Francis players during the Serra at St. Francis football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Mountain View, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group)  Serra High’s Kyon Loud (15) receives the ball during the Serra at St. Francis football game on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022, in Mountain View, Calif. (Thien-An Truong for Bay Area News Group) 

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