Monthly Archives: February 2020

Upset: an upsetting word in sports

I told myself at the beginning of 2020 I would not go into Howard Hughes mode and not post for weeks at a time.

Here I am with my first post in 17 days. On the other hand, it may be better in my case to calm down and not say anything else instead of posting for posting sake.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the “Miracle on Ice”, when the United States defeated the Soviet Union 3-2 in Olympic ice hockey (men’s, because there was no women’s ice hockey until 1998) at Lake Placid.

It has been considered one of the greatest upsets in sports, if not the greatest upset.

I hate the word “upset” when it is used in sports. It is tossed around far too liberally at all levels.

First, there is no such thing as an upset in professional sports.

People have called the Jets’ victory over the Colts in Super Bowl III a major upset since the game ended the evening of 12 January 1969. Yes, the Colts came into Super Bowl III with a better record and more acclaim, simply because the National Football League was more respected by those who called themselves “experts” about professional football than the American Football League, mostly because the Packers routed the Chiefs and Raiders in the first two Super Bowls.

Last I checked, the Jets were also a professional football team, one which cut players to reach the 1968 limit of 40. There were, at most, 1,400 men on a professional football roster in 1968 (26 teams; 40 players per team would be 1,040; I’ll assume most teams had to sign other players to fill in for those who were injured). That makes those 1,400 men in 1968 an extremely talented group. The Jets dressed out 40 of them for Super Bowl III, the same as the Colts.

Super Bowl XLII saw upset used in every other paragraph after the Giants ended the Patriots’ hopes for an undefeated season. That’s an insult to Eli Manning and the rest of the Giants.

Nine months after the Jets’ victory in Miami, the Mets defeated the Orioles in five games in the World Series. It has been called the greatest upset in World Series history.

Biggest surprise in World Series history? Perhaps. Upset? No way.

The Mets had the best pitcher in baseball, Tom Seaver, on their roster in 1969. Jerry Koosman, the Mets’ #2 starter, was better than most teams’ #2 starter, and better than many teams’ #1. Nolan Ryan was not yet the “Ryan Express”, but he was getting there. The Mets had the best defensive outfield in baseball in Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee and Ron Swoboda. While their lineup was not as star-studded as Baltimore’s of Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Boog Powell, it was still good enough to win the National League East, coming back from a double-digit deficit in July, then sweep Hank Aaron’s Braves in the first National League Championship Series.

Upsets in college sports? I don’t like using that word, either. Villanova beating Georgetown in the 1985 men’s basketball championship game? Surprising, absolutely. Upset? Not quite. Same with Jim Valvano and North Carolina State beating Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma two years before that.

Texas ending USC’s 34-game winning streak in the 2006 Rose Bowl to win the 2005 BCS championship? Texas was 12-0, played in a tougher conference, beat Ohio State in Columbus, had a better quarterback in Vince Young, and a better defense than the Trojans. Not an upset.

However, the word “upset” can absolutely be used for the Olympic ice hockey game of 22 February 1980.

The Soviet team had been playing together for years while serving in the Red Army. The Soviet goalie, Vladislav Treitak, was considered the best on earth, better than Tony Esposito, Billy Smith, Pete Peeters and anyone else in the NHL, including the recently retired Ken Dryden, who provided color commentary for ABC’s broadcasts of Olympic hockey in 1980. Dryden helped the Canadiens win the Stanley Cup six times from 1971-79, and later was elected to Parliament.

Several Soviets would emigrate to the United States and Canada by the end of the decade to play in the NHL, and one, Slava Fetisov, helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997 and ’98.

The Americans were strictly amateur. NHL president John Ziegler took the same stance as NBA commissioner Larry O’Brien in saying “absolutely not” to the professionals playing in the Olympics. At this time, Ziegler’s refusal was a hindrance to only two nations, Canada and the United States.

The Canadians did not medal in 1972 at Saporro or 1976 at Innsbruck. When the professionals did get to play internationally, it made a huge difference, as Team Canada defeated the Soviets in eight games (there was one tie) in the famous 1972 Summit Series.

The United States did earn bronze in 1972 with a bunch of unknowns (the biggest name from that squad, Robbie Ftorek, was better known as an NHL coach), but failed to medal in 1976.

How good were the Soviets? Most of the team won two out of three from a team of NHL All-Stars in February 1979 at Madison Sqaure Garden, with Treitak leading the Red Army to a 6-0 shutout in the third game.

The Soviets defeated the Americans 10-3 in a January 1980 exhibition. The race seemed to be for second place, with Sweden, Finland, Czechoslovakia and Canada joining the United States in that battle.

The U.S. went 4-0-1 in round-robin play at Lake Placid, defeating the Czechs, Romania, West Germany and Norway, and tying Sweden 2-2. The USSR outscored Finland, Canada, Poland, the Netherlands and Japan 51-11 in round-robin in the other division.

Finland earned the second spot from the Soviet division over Canada thanks to a 4-3 victory. The US and Sweden also advanced to the medal round, which matched the US vs. the USSR and Finland vs. Sweden on 22 February.

Vladimir Krutov and Sergei Makarov, both of whom made their way to the NHL in 1989, scored in the first period for the USSR. Rob Schneider and Mark Johnson countered for the Stars and Stripes.

Johnson’s goal came only a few tenths of a second before the red light came on to end the period. Had the red light come on before the puck crossed the goal line, it would not have counted. Hockey is different from basketball and football in that regard; in basketball, a shot taken before the buzzer (red light in college and professional) counts, as does a football play which takes place before the clock hits 00:00.

Enraged by the second goal, USSR coach Viktor Tikhonov pulled Treitak and put in backup Vladimir Myshkin. Myshkin held the Americans scoreless in the second period, and a power play goal by Alexander Maltsev 2:18 into the frame gave the Soviets a one-goal lead.

In the third period, it was the American’s turn to score on a power play, with Johnson scoring for the second time at the 8:39 mark.

Exactly 81 seconds later, captain Mike Eruzione scored on a slapshot when Myshkin was screened by teammate Vasili Pervukhin.

There were exactly 10 minutes remaining. The US led 4-3.

The Soviets threw everything into the attack. Instead of going into a neutral-zone trap, which many teams in the 1990s and 2000s might have done, US coach Herb Brooks kept his boys on the attack.

In the final minute, Tikhonov refused to pull Myshkin for the extra attacker, but the Soviets got two good shots on American goalie Jim Craig, one by Vladimir Petrov and another by Valeri Kharlamov.

Following Craig’s save against Kharlamov, Johnson won possession of the puck for the Americans. He passed to Ken Morrow, who cleared the puck past the American blue line and red line, bleeding time from the clock.

Then Al Michaels screamed “Do you believe in miracles?”, and history was made.

The game was not aired live in the United States or Canada. The game started at 17:00 EST and was shown on a three-hour tape delay. In hindsight, it was a terrible idea, since it put the game head-to-head with the most popular show on television, Dallas.

Tape delay sporting events were not uncommon in 1980, Three months after the Miracle on Ice, the Lakers clinched the NBA championship by winning game six of the finals in Philadelphia. Magic Johnson scored 42 points playing center in place of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who stayed back in Los Angeles, hoping to play in game seven if the 76ers won.

Only six cities saw the game live: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle, Las Vegas and Atlanta. CBS did not want to preempt Dallas, even though JR had been shot 21 March and the new season was still at least four months away (actually six due to a strike by the Screen Actors Guild). Everyone else, including New York and Chicago, had to wait until 23:30 ET (22:30 CT/20:30 PT) to watch the game on tape delay.

If the Miracle on Ice had occurred in 2020, or even 2010, there would have been no way to keep the result from viewers before the game aired, thanks to ESPN (which was only five months old in February 1980) and social media. In 1980, the game was still going on as Walter Cronkite, John Chancellor and Frank Reynolds anchored the nightly newscasts for the Eastern and Central Time Zones, and the networks agreed not to announce a score on newscasts for the Pacific Time Zone.

The good news about the Miracle on Ice: the US shocked the Soviets.

The bad news: the US had not yet secured a medal.

The Americans had to play Finland less than 48 hours after the Miracle on Ice. A loss meant the US could finish without medals.

Indeed, the Finns led 2-1 after two periods. According to Eruzione, Herb Brooks told the Americans they would “take this loss to their f***ing graves” if they did not come back. As Brooks exited the locker room, he repeated “your f***ing graves”.

The Americans scored three goals in the third period to win 4-2 for their first gold medal in Olympic hockey since 1960, and to date, their last. Despite having NHL players from 1998 through 2014, the Americans finished no better than second, losing the final to Canada in 2002 and 2010.

In 2018, the NHL and the league’s players could not agree to stop the season during the Olympics. Canada finished third and the US ended up seventh.

Since the Miracle on Ice, I’ve heard that “U” word used way too many times, including the two above instances from college basketball. I’m sick of it.

There may be other instances where “upset” may be appropriate for sports, but never more so than 22 February 1980 in Lake Placid.

Show Me champions and trouble

Missouri celebrated its second professional sports championship in eight months today in Kansas City, where an estimated crowd of more than 700,000 turned out to cheer on the Chiefs three days after its Super Bowl LIV victory.

In June, the celebration was at the other end of the Show-Me State, as the Blues brought the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time.

Many in St. Louis have jumped on the Chiefs bandwagon since the Rams left in January 2016 to return to Los Angeles. That number has probably grown exponentially since Patrick Mahomes took over as starting quarterback in 2018.

There may be some Bears fans in and around St. Louis, but considering the hatred eastern Missouri, if not all of Missouri, has for the Cubs (and the White Sox among Royals fans), many probably hate the Monsters of the Midway just as well. The Bears played in the Cubs’ park from 1921-70, so there’s a natural tie for that hatred.

Indianapolis is not a long drive east on Interstate 70, but the Cardinals were in St. Louis for 24 seasons before Robert Irsay told the Mayflower vans to drive the Colts’ gear from Baltimore to Indiana. And I doubt any St. Louis football fans would root for another team which relocated.

The Chiefs probably had a sizable St. Louis base from 1988-94 between the Cardinals’ departure for Arizona and the Rams’ arrival. The Chiefs were 4-12 in 1988, the year before Marty Schottenheimer was hired by Kansas City. By 1993, the Chiefs had Joe Montana under center and reached the AFC Championship, where they lost to the Bills.

The Rams were putrid their first four seasons in St. Louis (1995-98). Then projected starting quarterback Trent Green blew out his knee in the Rams’ second exhibition game of 1999, forcing Dick Vermeil to plug in some nobody named Kurt Warner. The Greatest Show on Turf was born, and a little less than six months later, St. Louis had its first sports championship since the Cardinals won the 1982 World Series.

Baseball is currently the only sport where Missouri’s largest cities have a rivalry. The NHL had it for two years with the woebegone Scouts, aka the artists now known as the New Jersey Devils (and the Colorado Rockies in between). Each city had an NBA team, but not at the same time; the Hawks left St. Louis for Atlanta in 1968, four years before the Cincinnati Royals moved to Kansas City. Of course, slimeball Joe Axelson moved the Kings to Sacramento in flagrant violation of the Warriors’ territorial rights in 1985. Had the Warriors had strong ownership in the mid-1980s like they have with Joe Lacob, the Kings never make it to Sacramento. Does that mean the Kings would have stayed in Kansas City? Probably not, because David Stern didn’t mind teams hopscotching the way it was abhorred by Pete Rozelle, Paul Tagliabue, Bowie Kuhn and Peter Ueberroth.

Since 2011, the four professional franchises currently residing in Missouri have won a championship. The Cardinals’ most recent World Series win was in 2011 vs. the Rangers; the Royals got theirs four years later vs. teh Mets.

Missouri may have great sports teams and two wonderful metropolises at opposite ends of I-70, but I don’t know if I would want to live in the Show-Me State. I doubt it.

The biggest problem Missouri has is its nonchalant attitude towards regulating nicotine.

The sales tax on a pack of cancer sticks in Missouri is 17 cents. Repeating: SEVENTEEN CENTS.

That’s one dollar and seventy cents per carton. In Illinois, the tax on one pack of cancer sticks is $2.98. I think Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker is a tool and the political cronies in Chicago have ruined the rest of the state, but at least it has one thing right (well, Chicago-style hot dogs are awesome).

Kansas’ tobacco tax is a joke as well, although $1.19 per pack is a lot better than 17 fucking cents. I’m sorry I used that word, but I believe smoking cigarettes is the most vile habit a person can acquire, short of violent crime.

Missouri’s smoking laws are a joke, too.

The state does not have a law which bans smoking in all enclosed settings. Bars in many corners of the state allow smoking wherever, whenever.

Kansas City has an indoor smoking ban, but customers can go out to a patio and suck on their cancer sticks, fouling the air for the rest of us who value our lungs.

The Buffalo Wild Wings at Zona Rosa has a large patio, and upwards of 20 smokers have been known to populate it on a given spring day. If Liz and Lisa weren’t working there, I would have quit going many moons ago.

The patio at Buffalo Wild Wings Shoal Creek is smaller, but there are plenty of smokers there on nice days. For a while, a man named Bill, who was a dead ringer for Michael McDonald, played trivia and sucked down on cancer sticks between questions.

St. Louis and the two major counties which make up the metropolitan area on the Missouri side, St. Louis and St. Charles, have adopted some pretty weak smoking bans. The ban is stronger in the city of St. Louis.

The lack of a tough smoking ban in the St. Louis area is why I stuck to getting White Castle to go when I went to St. Louis last year.

Illinois doesn’t have that problem. Smoking is banned in all enclosed areas in the Land of Lincoln, same as Kansas. As much as I dislike many things about my father’s home state, at least it has a smoking ban.

Missouri’s alcohol laws are also troubling.

There is no open container law. Passengers in a car can drink freely except in the cities with a ban, the largest of which are Independence, Columbia and St. Charles.

Every time the Missouri Legislature debates an open container law, it is shot down by the lobbyists from Anheuser-Busch (InBev). By failing to pass an open container law, Missouri has lost out on hundreds of millions of federal highway funds. No wonder I-70 between Kansas City and St. Louis is a death trap–the state doesn’t have the funding because it is too stupid to pass a common-sense law.

That’s all I have the energy for tonight. I am beat.

World Champions of NOTHING

Kansas City is celebrating the “World Champion” Chiefs today with a parade and rally.

For the record, the Chiefs are not “World Champions” of anything, even if every vehicle in the parade is displaying the words “World Champions”.

The Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl LIV, which gives them the right to forever be called “Super Bowl LIV champions” and “2019 National Football League champions”, the same way the franchise can refer to itself as “Super Bowl IV champions” and “1969 Professional Football champions” (1969 was the last year before the AFL-NFL merger).

The Chiefs may refer to themselves as “NFL champions” without a qualifying year until they are eliminated from the 2020 playoffs (or fail to qualify). If Kansas City wins Super Bowl LV next February in Tampa, the Chiefs may continue to use NFL champions without the year.

The Patriots lost the right to call themselves NFL champions without a qualifying year when they lost to the Titans in the wild card round. New England can refer to itself as NFL champions of 2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016 and 2018, but must use the qualifying years. And it cannot call itself a “world champion”, period.

No NFL (or AFL) champion has the right to call itself a “world champion”.

The NFL has never had a franchise in a country other than the United States of America. Save for a few exhibitions in the early 1960s, no NFL team has played a team from the only other major league on earth which sponsors gridiron football, the Canadian Football League.

Two of the other major North American sports leagues use “World Champions” when they should not.

The NBA has referred to the winner of its playoff tournament as “World Champions”. At least the league no longer refers to the final round of the playoffs as the “World Championship Series” as it did through 1985.

Major League Baseball has sponsored the World Series since 1903, with two exceptions (1904 and 1994). Every World Series winner I know has referred to itself as a “World Champion”, even though MLB has never had teams in countries other than the USA and Canada. North American champions is also inappropriate since no World Series winner has played a champion from Mexico, Cuba or another country.

The Associated Press expressly forbids its publications from using “World Champions” to refer to teams. It is SUPER BOWL champions, WORLD SERIES champions and NBA champions.

Baseball and basketball can easily determine a world champion the way FIFA does with the Champions League.

The National Hockey League has it right. Gary Bettman and his predecessor, John Ziegler, never refers to the winner of the Stanley Cup Finals as the “World Champions” of hockey. That team is the STANLEY CUP champion or the NHL champion.

Here’s something to keep in mind about the NHL. A team can win the Stanley Cup X number of times. However, a team cannot win Y Stanley Cups. There is only one Stanley Cup, and unlike the Vince Lombardi, Larry O’Brien and Commissioner’s trophies, a new one is not made each year.

Therefore, the Blues are attempting to win the Stanley Cup for the second time, not their second Stanley Cup. Got it?

Back to football.

There are two world champions of football. They are the French Men’s National Team and the United States Women’s National Team. France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the USA won the 2019 Women’s World Cup.

Every Super Bowl ring is a FRAUD, since every one says “World Champions”.

What’s going on in the Super Bowl? I can’t tell you!

I turned my television off shortly before 17:00 and I haven’t looked back. I am blacking out my phone and iPad from receiving new messages, and I’m not going to any websites which have anything to do with news, sports, Kansas City and San Francisco.

The NFL is ecstatic when 120 million people watch the Super Bowl. For the first time since I was old enough to know about football, Super Bowl XVIII (Raiders 38, REDSKINS 9), I am not one of those 120 million. I’m not going upstairs, because I know my parents are watching. I’m going to go to bed shortly.

Chiefs fans have been in denial since the AFC championship game ended. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, who calls themselves a Chiefs fan, thinks the 49ers can win. Chiefs fans feel victory tonight is inevitable, the same way it was for the Royals vs. the Mets in the 2015 World Series. Yes, the Royals did end up winning that World Series, but Daniel Murphy’s horrendous defense and Terry Collins’ idiocy allowing Matt Harvey to pitch the ninth inning of the fifth game contributed greatly.

LSU fans were not this overconfident prior to facing Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game three weeks ago. I didn’t watch for fear LSU’s magical run would end in New Orleans. It didn’t, but I think LSU fans would have handled losing better than Chiefs fans will if the 49ers prevail.

I hope the University of Kansas has its football stadium protected better than it did during the 2015 World Series. Shortly after the Royals clinched the series in New York, some idiots broke into the stadium, ripped down the goal post at the south end and it to Clinton Lake, where it was thrown in, much like has been done with past Jayhawk football victories. There were also a few incidents in downtown Lawrence following the Royals’ victory, although none as bad as what happened when Kansas lost the 2012 NCAA basketball tournament championship game to Kentucky, or when the Jayhawks beat Memphis to win the 2008 title.

If the Chiefs win, will everyone be asked to wear red and not green on St. Patrick’s Day in honor of St. Patrick of Mahomes? Will the Chiefs parade the Vince Lombardi Trophy around Kauffman Stadium at the Royals’ home opener? And who will play at Arrowhead Sept. 10 for the NFL season opener? The candidates are the Chargers, Broncos, Raiders, Patriots, Jets, Texans, Falcons and Panthers. Gee, I wonder who NBC would want for that?

If the 49ers win, the potential opening night opponents in Santa Clara are the Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals, Eagles, Redskins, Saints, Bills and Dolphins. Unless NBC wants Kyler Murray that badly, figure it to be the Seahawks or Saints.

The State of the Union Address is Tuesday evening. UGH. I know what I will not be watching at 20:00 CST.

No Patriots, still not watching

The best thing about Super Bowl LIV Is Thomas Edward Brady is not one of the starting quarterbacks.

If Thomas Edward Brady were not a gigantic douchebag like his coach, not as many people would mind he has played in nine Super Bowls and one six. Instead, Brady adopted the surly manner of William Steven Belichick, answering questions with cliche after cliche after cliche.

Douchebag Brady is a cheater, and I don’t mean fooling with the pressure of footballs. Douchebag Brady ran around on a pregnant Bridget Moynihan with Gisele. I don’t see what’s so great about Gisele. I don’t find her attractive, and she is just as much a douchebag as her husband. If I had to lock 10 people in a room to shut them up forever, Gisele and Tom would be on in the room, as would J-Lo, A-Rod, LeBron, Kim Kardashian and Kayne West. Actually, I wish I could slam at least 10,000 people in a room of complete silence.

People who compare Belichick to Nick Saban are off base. Sure, Saban has too many explosions, but at least he’ll give an honest answer most of the time. Saban is nowhere near as antisocial as Belichick. Many people rave about how great Belichick is away from football. If he’d show it once in a blue moon, a lot of people wouldn’t despise him as much, and the Patriots would not be as hated as they are.

As much as Brady and Belcihick have forged the image of the team America loves to hate, it all starts with the man at the top, Robert Kraft. Kraft was a braggadocio long before Spygate and Deflategate, and being a widower (his wife, Myrna, passed away in 2011) has seemingly emboldened him, thanks to his young new girlfriend, the same as Belichick’s squeeze, Linda Holliday, has done for him.

I’m not saying Brady would do as well on the MasterCard and Nationwide commercials as Peyton Manning. However, he would have done well to show us another side other than the robotic quarterback programmed by his coach. Then again, Brady doesn’t open his mouth and insert his foot like LeBron, and he isn’t outright mean and spiteful towards the media like Barry Bonds.

I didn’t watch the first half of last year’s Super Bowl. I was still angry at how the Rams got away with two penalties late in the NFC championship game vs. the Saints, and I had no desire to watch the Patriots again. The Rams were still the lesser two evils. Too bad they didn’t bother to show up for the game. They would have been better off getting out of Atlanta before kickoff, because their “effort” was beyond pathetic. Sean McVay wet his pants at the thought of facing Asshole Belichick in the Super Bowl, and it showed.

Will I watch tomorrow night? I didn’t watch LSU in the national championship game three weeks ago, and since i don’t have a horse in the Super Bowl, why bother?

Super Bowl, Kobe, impeachment…blah blah blah

Thank God the Super Bowl kicks off in 23 hours and 30 minutes, give or take. Enough talk about Patrick Mahomes. Enough talk about the Chiefs looking for their first Super Bowl victory in 50 years. Enough asking Len Dawson about Patrick Mahomes. If you live in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and parts of Iowa, Arkansas and Oklahoma, you may not realize the 49ers are in the Super Bowl as well.

The Chiefs have been the sole focus of every media outlet in Kansas and western Missouri. If you thought coverage of the Royals during their 2014 and 2015 World Series appearances was excessive, it pales in comparison to the adulation the Chiefs have received. It’s quite the opposite from the other end of Missouri, where the Rams were always a distant third to the Cardinals and Blues during their 21 seasons in St. Louis.

The 49ers are still getting less air time in San Francisco than Nancy Pelosi. People in the Bay Area have witnessed six championships since 2010, three by the Giants and three by the Warriors. Add in the success the Sharks have enjoyed despite the lack of a Stanley Cup, and the 49ers have been an afterthought most of the time since Steve Young’s retirement 20 years ago. There was the trip to Super Bowl XLVII and the crushing loss to the Seahawks in the NFC championship game the next season, but until this year, the 49ers went through their longest downturn since suffering through seven losing seasons out of eight from 1973-80.

If Kansas City wins tomorrow, people in this part of the United States will be hearing about it non-stop until the Chiefs go to training camp in July. Kansas basketball and the Royals will register, but it won’t eclipse the Chiefs.

Andy Reid might retire if the Chiefs win. I would not doubt it. It would allow Kansas City to promote Eric Bienemy and not have to worry about other teams attempting to poach him next January.

If San Francisco wins, we’ll hear about it for a few days, but it will fade. The sports fans of the Bay Area need something good this year, because the Warriors have been reduced to a D-League (sorry, G-LEAGUE) team without Steph Curry, the Sharks are stinking it up, and the Raiders have officially traded Oakland for Las Vegas.

The hype for Super Bowl LIV has been muted. That would normally be a good thing, but not this time.

It’s because almost every sports show, even some on NFL Network, have to mention Kobe.

Yes, Kobe perished last Sunday with his 13-year old daughter, six other passengers, and the foolish pilot who had no business flying a helicopter in thick fog. Sad. Very sad.

However, it happens all the time, and 99.5% of the time, the names of the people on board aren’t mentioned, and it gets all of 20 seconds on the evening news, if that.

I read on the Internet there is a petition circulating to change the NBA logo silhouette to that of Kobe, instead of Jerry West, whose silhouette has been the logo for almost 50 years.

Come on.

Do those who want to make the change realize who brought Kobe to the Lakers? JERRY WEST. Does anyone know of another NBA figure who was as great an executive as he was a player? Hello…hello…

Magic Johnson and James Worthy were both drafted #1 overall by the Lakers, thanks to shrewd trades by West to acquire the picks which helped land them.He took a chance on an unproven assistant named Pat Riley in late 1981 after firing Paul Westhead. He made the trade for Kobe and signed Shaq during the summer of 1996, and three years later convinced Phil Jackson to coach his latest collection of talent.

All 12 Lakers championships in Los Angeles were influenced by Jerry West. Now why should he be taken off the logo in favor of Kobe? Give me a good reason.

Twenty-four second shot clock violations and eight-second backcourt violations have become cool since Kobe’s death, since 24 and 8 were his jersey numbers with the Lakers. To me, that’s making a mockery of the game. Honor him, yes, but don’t do it by disrupting the normal flow of a game.

Golfers have become Kobe worshippers this weekend. Justin Thomas and Tony Finau wore Kobe jerseys during the Phoenix Open. Phil Mickelson, a legend in Phoenix thanks to winning an NCAA championship at Arizona State, smartly skipped out on the Phoenix Open and is playing in Saudi Arabia. Tiger is not playing golf this weekend, choosing to attend the Super Bowl; after all, it’s in his backyard (he lives in Florida, which doesn’t have a state income tax, while his native California has astronomical taxes, especially for rich athletes).

The third and only other thing in the news right now is the impeachment trial of Donald John Trump. No comment.