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First call: Kobe an Oscar winner, Steelers safeties, Badger Bob’s birthday | TribLIVE.com
Breakfast With Benz

First call: Kobe an Oscar winner, Steelers safeties, Badger Bob’s birthday

Tim Benz
| Monday, March 5, 2018 6:18 a.m
90thAcademyAwardsVanityFairOscarParty06946jpg4788c
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Vanessa Bryant, left, and Kobe Bryant, winner of the award for best animated short for 'Dear Basketball', arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party on Sunday, March 4, 2018, in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Everyday here at “First Call,” we are going to be collecting overnight sports stories from across the globe that we think you will find interesting.

Especially if you stayed up until last call and slept in.

Today we look at sports influences at the Oscars, a safety on the Steelers’ radar, and remembering Badger Bob.


Kobe is an Oscar winner now?

Yup. Five NBA titles. Two Finals MVP’s. One league MVP. And now an Oscar.

Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” just won the Academy award for best animated short.

Bryant is the second member of those Lakers teams to win an Academy Award. We of course all remember, Shaq won best actor for “Kazaam” in 1996.

I’m pretty sure he did anyway. Let me double check.


‘I, Tonya’ won too

I probably haven’t watched figure skating since Nancy Kerrigan got her knee bashed. But I was still rooting for “I, Tonya” at the Oscars.

First of all, Allison Janney was great as Tonya Harding’s mom. She won best supporting actress .

Secondly, Paul Walter Hauser should’ve been nominated for his portrayal of Shawn Eckardt. He stole every scene.

Most importantly though, c’mon. Margot Robbie? That simple. They tried so hard to make her look like a hag while playing Tonya Harding, and it still didn’t work. I’m still holding out hope she’ll write me back after the Valentine’s Day card I sent her in the mai …

Wait, was that out loud?

Also, “Icarus” won the Best Documentary feature trophy. It chronicles the Russian doping scandal.


Steelers reportedly expected to franchise Le’Veon Bell

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted Monday morning that the Steelers are expected to apply the franchise tag to running back Le’Veon Bell to beat Tuesday’s deadline after talks for a long-term deal fell through.

The tag will be worth $14.544 million if Bell signs it.

ACC tourney schedule is out

Speaking of movies, those of you who are into punishment could simply go watch “Fifty Shades Freed.” But if you are into punishment of a different variety, you could always watch Pitt basketball.

The Panthers take to the court for what will likely be the last time Tuesday in the ACC Tournament . Notre Dame is the opponent at 2 p.m. in Brooklyn. Kevin Stallings’ club has yet to win a conference game this season.

But I’m sure postseason play will turn everything around.

Here’s the whole schedule of games with corresponding TV times.

Notre Dame’s T.J. Gibbs dribbles past Pitt’s Jared Wilson-Frame during the second half Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2018, in South Bend, Ind. (AP)


Flames get some help

Calgary might get a boost in its lineup when it skates at PPG Paints Arena. The Calgary Sun reports that Michael Ferland is likely to back in the line up.

The winger has scored 20 goals this year. But he hasn’t played since Feb. 22 with an undisclosed injury. He’d play with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau.

Ferland will provide some size, too. He’s 6-foot-2, 208 pounds.


Recognition for Shazier

In my time covering the Steelers, scout Mark Gorscak has always been a favorite to interact with. And this is “his time” of year

For fifteen years Gorscak has been “that dude who is the starter for the 40 yard dash at the NFL combine.”

And this year he’s getting lots of love for his acknowledgement of Ryan Shazier’s battle to recover from his injury last season.

He should.

Wearing a No. 50 #Shalieve shirt, Steelers scout Mark Gorscak speaks to the linebackers before they run the 40-yard dash during the NFL Combine on Sunday. (AP)


The Steelers are looking at a safety

They should maybe look for more than one. But this is a start .

They are formally meeting with Alabama safety Ronnie Harrison. He’s a 6-foot-3, 216-pound enforcer. Projections have him as a second round strong safety. His teammate Minkah Fitzpatrick is viewed as the best player at the position.

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‘It’s a great day …’

… to remember Badger Bob. <a target='_new' id="7e7cins1e43:u7e7cins1e57" href="

“> As Vintage MN Hockey reminds us, this would’ve been Badger Bob’s 87th birthday. The Penguins’ first Cup will turn 27 in June. So, in our eyes, he gets two birthdays.

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review sports columnist. You can contact Tim via Twitter .

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