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Spurs Will Tell Him What to Do With the Asterisk

The Lakers close out the regular season Wednesday night against the Spurs in San Antonio in what is ostensibly a meaningless game before the playoffs--or is it?

Before the Lakers--playing without Shaquille O’Neal--lost to the Spurs on April 8, Coach Phil Jackson said, "[The Spurs] needed an asterisk next to their title” last year because of the lockout-shortened season.

The Spurs took exception to Jackson’s remark. A sampling:

Guard Terry Porter: “I would have liked to see if all that Zen stuff would work in Vancouver or Dallas.”

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Center David Robinson: “I guess I’m going to have an asterisk etched in my ring.”

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Trivia time: Who holds the NBA playoff record for steals in a game?

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Menacing city: Jayson Stark in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Yankees postponed Tuesday’s home opener 22 hours in advance because of threat of snow and rain. As it turned out, they could have played. The Rangers weren’t happy about the Yanks’ decision.

“ ‘I don’t know why weather is a concern,’ Texas reliever Tim Crabtree said. ‘People have to travel to the Bronx every night. They should be concerned about that.’ ”

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Is that all? Jeff Tarango on why he lost to Jason Stoltenberg at the Atlanta Tennis Challenge:

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“You want my list of excuses? My room service didn’t deliver. I didn’t get any breakfast. I went out to play a semifinal very uninspired. The crowd was uninspiring. The introductions were uninspiring.

“The crowd was sitting on its hands for the first 30, 40 minutes of the match. The tennis knowledge in America just blows me away.”

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Just in case: Comedy writer Earl Hochman: “Now that the Dodgers have added some popular new concessions, like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, King Taco and Subway, fans are hoping they’ll add one more item--Maalox.”

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Routine choking: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun-Times: “In a poll conducted by the Times-Herald in Bloomington, Ind., the heart of Bob Knight country, 42% of 1,273 voters said the tape showed that he had indeed choked Neil Reed. And 27% said it wasn’t a big deal.”

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Drink up: Reader Torben Rolfsen of Pacifica, Calif., to the San Francisco Chronicle: “The Raiders’ pick of kicker Sebastian Janikowski in the NFL draft is an Absolut gamble.”

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Looking back: On this day in 1956, Eddie Rommel became the first major league umpire to wear glasses as the New York Yankees played the Washington Senators. Rommel had been umpiring since 1938.

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Trivia answer: Allen Iverson, Philadelphia, 10, against Orlando on May 13, 1999.

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And finally: Joel Sherman in the New York Post on outspoken Met Manager Bobby Valentine: “All that protects [Valentine] now is winning. His ally list within the Met organization, no multivolume set to begin with, has become shorter than the list of Perry Como’s greatest rap songs.

“There is no other refuge left for him except winning.”


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