Nothing But the Net for Hoops Fans

cahlin@earthlink.net

You may never configure your cell phone to ring like the theme of Fox Sports--available at http://www.yourmobile.com--but the Web is teeming with so much hoops information, you need a scorecard to tell the best from the rest as the NBA Finals heat up.

The first step onto the Net is NBA.com, at http://www.nba.com, which delivers standings, stats and news. It's also the gateway to official home pages for the Lakers, at http://www.nba.com/lakers/index.html, and the 76ers, at http://www.nba.com/sixers/index.html. It also lists every NBA TV show, from the chiffon "Inside Stuff" to the edgy "NBA 2 Night."

For major media players, visit ESPN at http://espn.go.com and Fox Sports at http://www.foxsports.com/nba. If it seems like some of the big sites' stories are exactly the same, it's not you. You'll find some unlikely team-ups to save money and resources. CNN and Sports Illustrated, for example, share NBA Finals coverage at http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/2001/playoffs, as does MSNBC and the Sporting News, at http://www.sportingnews.com/nba.

Nobody beats a local newspaper's beat reporter for in-depth coverage. For the Lakers, check out http://www.latimes.com/sports/reports/2001/nbaplay or even http://www.dailynews.com/socal/sports/lakers for expanded coverage, photos and message boards. For a completely different take, there's the Philadelphia Daily News, at http://dailynews.philly.com/content/daily_news/2001/06/11/sports, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, at http://sports.philly.com.

To get beyond the flattering official sites set up by some of the top players, do a Google search at http://www.google.com on your favorite player for fan sites full of interesting tidbits. For instance, there's a terrific Allen Iverson site at http://iverson.cjb.net that delivers eye-popping photos, movies, wallpaper and songs plus a wonderful "tat stat" that breaks down the significance of every tattoo adorning the league's MVP.

Can't watch the game live? If you own a personal digital assistant equipped with a wireless modem, you can download Palm Web clipping applications for Yahoo and ESPN at http://wireless.palm.net/apps that can be configured to retrieve live sports scores. AvantGo, another free service, at http://avantgo.com, delivers Lakers Mobile--a round-up of news, history, even a food and beverage guide for Staples Center.

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Michael Cahlin is a freelance writer.

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