Bryant, not interested in sitting out games down the stretch because "people pay their hard-earned money to come watch us play," obviously cares more about the fans than former Clippers center Benoit Benjamin ever did. . . .
The Cleveland Cavaliers, promoting their star and MVP candidate, this week launched a website with an ungainly name: LeBronisReallyReallyReallyReallyReallyReallyGood.com. . . .
Really is repeated six times because this is his sixth season. . . .
Really. . . .
An overtime loss Wednesday at Boston kept Larry Brown's Charlotte Bobcats from becoming the first team since the 1996-97 Seattle SuperSonics to defeat the Lakers and Celtics on consecutive nights, according to STATS LLC. . . .
For Brown, 1997 was five jobs ago. . . .
Perhaps Tim Floyd looked at the media guides and discovered that, despite Arizona's richer tradition, USC's record over the last four seasons is nearly identical to the Wildcats'. . . .
In fact, since Floyd took over at USC in 2005, their records in Pacific 10 Conference play are identical. . . .
Come October, Sports Illustrated predicts, newcomer Francisco Rodriguez and the New York Mets will derail the championship dreams of both the Dodgers (in the first round of the playoffs) and the Angels (in the World Series). . . .
Former Dodgers outfielder Gary Sheffield, one home run short of 500 when he was released this week by the Detroit Tigers, seems a safe bet to become the first major leaguer to hit No. 499 with one team and No. 500 with another. . . .
He hit a career-high 43 with the Dodgers in 2000. . . .
Of the 14 players who won three NCAA basketball titles under John Wooden at UCLA, several are still-familiar names such as Lew Alcindor, Sidney Wicks, Curtis Rowe and Henry Bibby, but others are not so well known: Jon Chapman, John Ecker, Terry Schofield, Bill Sweek, Andy Hill. . . .
Ecker is probably better known as the husband of 1972 Olympic long jump champion Heide Rosendahl and father of German Olympic pole vaulter Danny Ecker. . . .
Monday is the 15th anniversary of the still-amusing on-air confrontation between Jim Everett and Jim Rome. . . .
Among those inducted this week into the California Community College Sports Hall of Fame was the late Willie Stargell, who spent a year at Santa Rosa Junior College before launching his Hall of Fame career with the Pittsburgh Pirates. . . .
Hitting against Sandy Koufax, the quotable Stargell famously said, was "like trying to drink coffee with a fork." . . .
The Jay Cutler trade might prove to be a boon to the Denver Broncos, who didn't seem to want him anyway. . . .
Gail Goodrich is not alone, notes reader Bill Harvey of Diamond Bar: Tom Gola won high school, NCAA and NBA titles in the same city -- with Philadelphia LaSalle High in 1951, LaSalle in 1954 and the Philadelphia Warriors in 1956. . . .
All-American Jayne Appel, who scored a school-record 46 points Monday to propel Stanford into the women's Final Four, is the daughter of Joe Appel, who played basketball at St. Mary's and Torrance Bishop Montgomery High in the 1970s. . . .
Boston College won the NCAA men's hockey championship last season, but rival Boston University is ranked No. 1 this season. . . .
Reader Richard Camphuis of Tujunga, taking issue with Tiger Woods' cursing and club-throwing, e-mails to note, "Tiger has stepped up his golf game, but the game of golf has taken a step down to accommodate its cash cow. What a shame." . . .
When KNX broadcaster Paul Olden finishes his gig as a presumably temporary fill-in for longtime New York Yankees public-address announcer Bob Sheppard, who is ailing, perhaps he'll ask Tom Lasorda for an opinion of his performance. . . .
Noting that Tom Brady and supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who were married five weeks ago in Santa Monica, reportedly plan to do it again in Costa Rica, Newsweek magazine wonders, "Are they greedy for attention -- or toasters?"