If They Stick Together, Possibilities Are Endless

Rick Morrissey in the Chicago Tribune: "The Lakers are not the best team of all time, but they have a chance to be if their two stars learn to get along. And that's saying something considering that, only a few years ago, we believed that no one could replace Michael Jordan and the Bulls as the best.

"Kobe is no Michael, at least, not yet, but he has a chance to be for no other reason than he has Shaq.

"If they can coexist the way they did during the playoffs, O'Neal and Bryant will notice there isn't much in the way of competition for them on the horizon."

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More on Shaq: Rick Telander in the Chicago Sun-Times: "So there he is dancing daintily in a TV high-tech ad, wearing a sky-blue leotard, the world's most frighteningly sincere rhythmic gymnast ever.

"Would Wilt have done that? Bill Russell? Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Are you kidding?

"Those equally isolated big men chose to act apart from the rest--to remain aloof, misunderstood giants with their heads and minds far from the realm of self-deprecation and mortal humor."

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Trivia time: Who is the only player to win the Cy Young and rookie-of-the-year awards in the same season?

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No speed burner: After recently hitting his first triple in nearly four years, Detroit Tiger first baseman Tony Clark was asked what it would take for him to hit an inside-the-park home run.

"Two outfielders would have to fall down," he said. "And when they throw the ball in, the guy catching it has to lose it in the sun, and then I would need a generous call from the official scorer."

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Scary prospect: Bud Geracie in the San Jose Mercury News: "Paul Azinger, who called Tiger 'the most dominant athlete in history,' will face Chamberlain, Secretariat and Joe Louis in the afterlife."

* "Earl Woods is now comparing his son to Nelson Mandela, which is so unfair considering how badly Mandela's golf game suffered during his 27-year imprisonment for opposing apartheid."

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One-way-upmanship: It has been reported that the University of Oregon spent $250,000 to put up a giant billboard in Manhattan of quarterback Joey Harrington to promote him as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

"Taking a cue from that," says Michael Ventre of MSNBC.com, "the Chicago White Sox will hire a blimp to solicit trade offers for David Wells."

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Separate tables? After winning the Stanley Cup, the Colorado Avalanche partied at a Denver restaurant and a few of the players came to the party in their uniforms. Said Garth Woolsey of the Toronto Star: "Ah, yes, the sweet smell of success."

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Dream on: Owner Jerry Jones predicts the Dallas Cowboys will win 10 games next season. Said Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post: "What, did they get moved to NFL Europe when the league realigned?"

And this from Mark Kriegel of the New York Daily News: "Is [Jones] subject to mandatory drug testing?"

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Trivia answer: Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers in 1981.

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And finally: ESPN.com columnist Hunter S. Thompson: "I am a natural-born sportswriter. I have a knack for it, a God-given talent. After I first learned it was possible to sleep late and still get paid for it, I never did anything else."

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