Did you hear the story of the extremely successful Los Angeles basketball coach who coached an extremely talented 6-6 point guard , the top point guard in the entire country? Who then surprisingly resigned so he could be closer to his home? Or maybe he resigned because he could not cope with the constant interference of the player's overbearing father and dreaded coaching the two lesser talented younger brothers even though he would still be successful. His health and piece of mind were more important.
No, not Steve Alford, but ex-Chino Hills basketball coach Steve Baik, now coach at Fairfax. I do not blame Alford one bit if he decides to leave to his alma mater. The moving costs might be expensive, but he'd save so much money on Pepto Bismol and Excedrin.
Bill Plaschke [March 24] perpetuates the canard about Bruins fans that we are living in the past and that nothing less than a steady diet of NCAA championships will satisfy us. In fact, what most of us expect is that year in, year out, we field a team that is in the top echelon of the Pac-12, that good ballplayers are recruited who are coached so they play to their potential, that the team progress over the course of a season.
By any measure of those reasonable standards, last year's Bruins team was an abject failure and this year's team is a resounding success. Steve Alford as coach has responsibility for the former and gets credit the latter.
Those relatively few calling for Alford's ouster after last year's performance overreacted to one terrible season. But had it been repeated again this year, had the team not played to its potential and had gotten worse, not better, as the season progressed, a discussion about whether Alford should continue coaching UCLA would have been in order.
But not because he didn't win a championship.
I suspect that Steve Alford, being the stand-up guy he is and someone who wants to coach at a top school, wouldn't take issue with any of that.
I am firmly of the opinion that LaVar Ball is an overbearing colossal bragger whose only concern is his own self-aggrandizement. Writer Nathan Fenno calls Mr. Ball "outspoken." That's the understatement of the year. As for Ball's "billion-dollar" empire, I sincerely hope that it blows up in his face before it ever gets off the ground. But I truly feel sorry for his three sons, and especially for Lonzo. It's amazing how he's been able to stay focused during the most important games of his life despite this major distraction.
I am a fan of USC and UCLA and like to see them succeed in their sports. I thought the NCAA punishment of USC for Reggie Bush was way over the top. Therefore I am concerned that LaVar Ball and his premature business empire is going to result in UCLA losing/voiding/forfeiting all of its games for this season. That would be an avoidable shame.
LaVar Ball is a breath of fresh air — turning the corporate boys on their ears with his David vs. Goliath mentality! He has a product, his ball-playing phenom sons, and by golly, he is going to sell it. Let the nay-sayers and do-gooders go sell snake oil. This guy is going to capitalize the old-fashioned American way — by earning it. Nike, Adidas, and the NCAA can just get in line to get an autograph. Kudos to the Ball brothers and the family that raised them.
Mr. Ball, the real story that you should be telling personally and through social media is how you prepared your sons on the harsh realities of everyday life that "regular " people go through, after all of your sons have blown their knees out, or gone the O'Bannon route, and have to resort to selling $60 T-shirts and $100 baseball caps, which nobody will buy after you have become a "regular" person.
We interrupt these absurd television commercials to bring you a brief snippet of March Madness. It's very obvious why every game goes beyond the allotted time frame: too many stupid, inane commercial interruptions. So much income for the networks, yet we still can't get the Dodgers or Pac-12 stations.
What's up, Doc?
Of course Doc Rivers is not leaving Los Angeles for Orlando. Simply look at what he said about loyalty when he signed his huge five-year contract extension with the Celtics in 2011:
"It would have been very easy for me to just run and go somewhere else and chase something else...I just don't think it's the right thing to do. Coaches talk about loyalty and team all the time. I just thought it was time to show it. And that's what I did."
Don't you just have to take him at his word then?
I think Doc has finally figured out what real basketball fans already knew — he's the problem, and he's appropriately dusting off the resume.
Two (upper-deck) tickets to see LeBron James and the Cavaliers play the Clippers: $250
The look of confused, crushed disappointment on your son's face when he finds out that LeBron's sitting this one out to "rest." Priceless.
In the 42-year period from when Johnny Carson made that joke until Jeff Hershow wrote that letter last week, the Lakers won 10 NBA championships, yet you claim that "nothing has changed" and they're still cellar dwellers. Sure they're having a forgettable season, but I'd bet that every other sports franchise would love to have had a run like that where nothing changes.
I am a diehard Lakers fan, but it is pathetic to see the team that is out there now. They have accepted losing. There is no intensity on defense. They do not run any type of offense. Plus, the players act like they don't even care. They need to bring back the aura of winning. Please, Magic, bring back the Laker mentality!
Judge Kelvin D. Filer
Congratulations to Shaquille O'Neal for his well-deserved statue at Staples Center. However, Star Plaza would not be complete without a statue of Elgin Baylor, who was as responsible for the Lakers' early success in Los Angeles as Jerry West and Chick Hearn.
The long run
Elisha Barno, the men's L.A. marathon winner this year. complained of "getting sick" and queasiness from his sports drink. Before 1969, endurance athletes were discouraged from drinking during races, including marathons. Then Gatorade appeared on the scene and the bottled water craze soon followed. Today overhydration and sudden death from hyponatremia and hypokalemia are serious problems, not dehydration.
Gatorade and other sports drinks contain potassium, a gastric irritant. Barno almost succumbed to the over-commercialization of the marathon.
Jerome P. Helman, M.D.
I can't help but find humor in the irony that an elite marathon runner can make it from Dodger Stadium to Santa Monica in just over two hours on a Sunday morning; yet that same runner probably would take nearly an hour longer to drive the same route during Friday evening rush hour.
San Luis Obispo
Bill being Bill
Bill Walton is the Howard Cosell of West Coast basketball. You either love his antics and hyperbole or you love to hate him and tune in anyway to see what he will say next. (The mute button is also an option.)
As a UCLA legend, he automatically gets a pass by me. But I have to laugh at the backlash he gets for just being himself: a tie-dyed, Dead-Head, basketball-loving, Wooden-trained, Luke-raising, championship-winning, Pac-12 honk who found his voice after overcoming a serious stuttering affliction.
Playa del Rey
All Kings' men
Perhaps Drew Doughty's and Jake Muzzin's predilection for soccer helps to explain the Kings' frustrating repeated inability to score more than one or two goals per game.
J. Peter Rich
Last summer in this column I regretfully predicted the Kings were headed for a long, slow decline as a result of the numerous bad decisions made by GM Dean Lombardi. Last week they showed they are right on schedule, being embarrassed in two games in Alberta with their season on the line. Edmonton skated circles around the predictable, lumbering Kings, led by two players for whom Dean traded two prospects and two first-round picks knowing full well he couldn't afford to retain them under the salary cap.
Dean, If AEG remains grateful enough to give you another season to turn it around; it's time to blow it up and start over. Darryl Sutter remains a good coach, but this team is going through the motions and it's time for a new voice. You have four world-class stars to rebuild around. Get what you can for contract miscues Brown and Gaborik and trade who you have to get younger and faster. Don't continue to delude yourself. Everyone else can see it — this group's run is done.
What we learned this past week in the NHL:
Well, we also learned that Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will not be heard inside Staples Center in June dropping F-bombs while holding a beer on live television celebrating another Kings Stanley Cup.
Howard P. Cohen
We have two NHL teams in Southern California: the Ducks and the Dead Ducks.
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