The Prime of Mr. Brook Lopez; The Ohtani "Thwack"
The Warriors' Steph Curry isn't the only NBA player still going strong and improving at the age of 35.
Former Stanford star Brook Lopez is another player who seems to be getting better with age. Lopez just signed a two-year, $48 million contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Lopez is coming off the best season of his 15-year career. He was second in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting and led the league with 193 blocked shots.
Offensively, Lopez averaged 15.9 points per game while hitting 53.1 percent of his shots overall and a career high 37.4 percent from 3-point range. He had 36 points in one of the first round playoff games against Miami.
Lopez had a few years with the New Jersey Nets when he averaged 20 points per game, but wasn't the defender and rebounder he is now.
Two years ago, he helped lead the Bucks to an NBA title and this year he was a key factor in their league-best 58-24 regular season record.
Brook's twin brother, Robin Lopez, has also lasted 15 years in the NBA. Robin has played for nine different teams, mostly as a backup, and until the past few seasons had been considered the better defender of the Lopez twins.
The Bucks obviously want to remain in contention for the NBA championship, and have kept their core four players (Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Lopez) for at least another two years.
Lopez turned down a bigger contract with Houston to remain with the Bucks. I hope he gets the brass ring one more time before he retires.
Shotime: Angel's pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani is having one of the best seasons in the history of Major League Baseball.
As grandiose as that sounds, it is undeniable.
Ohtani, named this week to the All-Star team as both a pitcher and designated hitter, is posting numbers that are positively Ruth-like.
Ohtani leads the majors with 31 home runs, is batting .306, and has a 7-3 record and 3.02 ERA as the ace of the Angels' staff. His pitches routinely hit 100 mph.
I always pull up video replays of Ohtani's home runs, and they're something to behold. His homers sound and look different than anyone else's. They are massive, towering, sky-scraping drives, routinely traveling 450 feet or more.
They also have a unique sound, unlike anything I've ever heard, more of a solid "thwack" than a crack.
Now in his sixth season, Ohtani has a career record of 35-17, with a 2.97 ERA. He was 15-9 last year. Offensively, he's hit 158 home runs, including 46 in 2021, 34 last year. He's on pace to hit 60 this season.
Babe Ruth, by comparison, was 94-46 with a 2.28 ERA as a pitcher, numbers Ohtani could reach or surpass. Since Ohtani is 28, however, it will be tough for him to catch Ruth's 714 dingers.
He'll be a free agent after this season and, of course, our SF Giants will try to sign him. Maybe this time they'll get lucky.
That would be enough to bring most of us out to Oracle Park.