It’s been a while since we’ve concocted one of these posts, but it’s time to run this thing back. We spanned the state — and the globe — to bring you the best sportswriting from the past week that centers on North Carolina: athletes, writers, teams, everything. If you missed it, we’re here for you:
I grew up a massive sports fan in North Carolina — but I just never caught the NASCAR bug. That’s no knock; it just never caught my interest. That said, I remember where I was when I heard news of Dale Earnhardt Sr. died at Daytona — I’ll never forget it. Last week we hit the 15th anniversary of Dale’s crash. The single best thing I’ve read on sports in the recent past is Liz Clarke’s recollection of that tragic day. (Clarke, who currently writes for the Washington Post, cut her NASCAR teeth working for the Charlotte Observer.)
Michael Lee is one of the best scribes covering the NBA; this week he published an insightful piece on Washington Wizards point guard John Wall: a native of Raleigh, NC, who enters an early crossroads of his career as his team stumbles down the stretch.
We’re late to the party on this one — but it’s worth bring back up here: friend of the program and Raleigh denizen Chip Patterson of CBS Sports, from two weeks ago, on Mike Brey’s success at Notre Dame along Tobacco Road (special shoutout to Ben for the idea pitch). Is the next Gary Williams? Great writing by Chip, but I’m not sold; Brey doesn’t sweat enough.
The Hornets fell on the road last night to LeBron and the Cavs, which snapped their five-game winning streak. Charlotte has still won seven of their last nine — and no one has played a bigger role in that, according to Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, than Kemba Walker, who is having a career year at the most opportune time.
The Hornets seemed poised for their second playoff appearance in three seasons — but as Russell Varner at At The Hive states, the team will need to play better on the road — 10-18 away from Time Warner Cable Arena, with a negative point differential — down the stretch if they want to be dancing come mid-April.
It’s been perhaps the most-discussed storyline of the Carolina Hurricanes’ season so far: will Eric Staal — the team’s captain, who possesses a no-trade clause — be dealt before this season’s trade deadline, which is next Monday (2/29)? Over at WRALSportsFan, Ken Medlin reminds us that a decision must be made soon.