Letters: It’s always Lakers season
First, the Lakers hire Mike Brown.
Then, the trio of ego in Miami reach the NBA Finals, forcing us to root for Mark Cuban’s team
Finally, Frank McCourt makes the Dodgers’ payroll, avoiding an MLB takeover.
The trifecta of sports disappointment is now complete.
John T. Lewis
I realize that the newspaper business is a business, and you guys need “to sell soap,” but could you tell some of your sportswriters that the world isn’t going to end because of the Lakers’ recent loss in the playoffs and the hiring of a mere mortal for a coach.
Your writers are busy scratching out eyes, generally trying to shame and blame. OK, they didn’t win the championship, but neither did Boston, and that fact, right there, is a positive for any die-hard Lakers fan. So let’s build on that! Calm down, T.J. and Bill, everything is going to be OK.
Mike Brown says, “Defense wins championships.” Oh, really? Look at the walls in Staples Center, Mike. See all those banners? The Lakers know what to do to win championships. They don’t need you to tell them how. Don’t preach it; just do it.
The Lakers hired Mike Brown to be their next head coach. Some fans felt he shouldn’t have gotten the job because of his lack of success coaching the Cleveland Cavaliers, while others applauded his youth and his focus on defense. Not one single person on either side mentioned the fact he is black.
Ralph S. Brax
Kudos to T.J. Simers for his insightful column on Jim Buss last Sunday. It was a refreshing departure from his usual vindictive and vitriolic columns about athletes who brush him off. And whereas I suspect that this producer of “I Drafted Andrew Bynum” T-shirts has a larger ego than was portrayed, it did give us a rare insight into the man and his role with the Lakers.
In my view there were two noteworthy quotes given by Jim Buss during his interview with T.J. Simers. The first was that Jim was surprised at the reaction to the Mike Brown hiring. The second was that Jim believes the Lakers are capable of improving their athleticism at the end of the bench. Apparently, at the time of Jim’s birth the line to receive a silver spoon also included a dunce cap.
Maury D. Benemie
The Big Retirer
Before the fawning over Shaq begins, let’s not forget his classless raps on Kobe, his disrespect for Dr. Buss and his consistent failure to show up in shape. Yes, the Lakers won three titles with him, but had he worked harder and not been so selfish, he would have been remembered in this city forever. The world is full of me-first athletes. How about holding off on the sainthood for a while?
We were fortunate once to be in Seattle when the Lakers were going to play the SuperSonics and happened to be at the same hotel as the team. Along with other fans, we waited in the lobby for the team to come down from their rooms to board the bus to take them to the arena that night. Most of the players made it quickly through the lobby and straight out the side door to the bus. Not Shaq. He came out of the elevator, big smile, and talked and shook hands with fans and hotel workers in the lobby. He must have spent 10 minutes just talking and laughing with folks as he slowly made his way to the door.
We will always remember Shaq as the Big Friendly.
Thanks to Mark Heisler for the Shaq remembrance. It well recalled the skills, the charm and, yes, the drama that are the Great Aristotle.
My favorite memory is of those times he would take a step out of the paint and then, with those hands that seemed like lifeless sledgehammers at the free throw line, hoist the prettiest little short jumper you would ever hope to see. It was Shaq telling the other team, “Just when you thought you had me figured out, gotcha!”
Shaquille O’Neal was the Big Overrated. When he had the ball, he would use his weight to back into the defender and dunk the ball. These were Shaq fouls that were not called against him. If there was a foul called, the pushed-back defender would be the victim. And Shaq was only a part-time player: How many seasons did he miss weeks or months due to injuries?
Plaschke has it mostly right about Shaq’s career. If Shaq had the bare minimum work ethic, he could have been the all-time best center. Instead, he was lazy and too wrapped up in being the Big Whatever. Dr. Buss should get no blame. He is running a business, not a (Big) babysitting center.
Jim Tressel resigned from Ohio State because there were infractions and later more infractions and later more infractions. He couldn’t come clean, he didn’t want to own up and say, “This is what happened.” Both the athletic director and the president of the university have acted as what can be described, at best, as naively. Exactly what other things have Ohio State players been doing that we don’t know about?
While no tears need be shed for Jim Tressel, nor would they be warranted, his “resignation” for the “good of the program” must be viewed in context: The endless pressure to win imposed upon coaches and managers by fans, owners, athletic directors, alumni is so compelling that even the straight arrows, or at least those who appear to be, feel the need to circumvent and to engage in subterfuge to remain competitive and retain the illusion of being a winner. Alas, no one is immune from these pressures, and the demand for endless success clearly trumps a history of triumph.
I believe that what the NCAA has just done in denying USC’s appeal is indict every college football and basketball program that now exists. Think about it. No school that now exists could possibly meet the NCAA’s standards as defined in this USC ruling.
What does the NCAA have against USC other than the practices were fun and open to all the press and friends?
Never Consistent About Anything seems to be an accurate description!
Arthur A. Fleisher II
Drugs and bikes
I thought Bill Dwyre [May 28] was going to lay out up front why so many of us are yawning at the continued accusations against Lance Armstrong; i.e., the man has never failed a drug test. Dwyre did, but it was buried at the end of the article instead of at the front. Instead he focused on the continuing accusations of yet (another) failed drug-taker and wandered through the litany of other reasons why people are tired of or don’t react to further accusations involving Armstrong.
It’s time the media quit hyping these accusations. Funny how they appear only around the time of races. Accept that Armstrong never failed a test and that all the hearsay ranting of former teammates/failed drug-test users won’t convict him of anything.
Bill Dwyre asks why sports fans are so blase about athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. The answer to his question is in the medical clinic ad right next to his column, which, for only $99, promises sublingual tabs offering “fun all night” and “one visit, better sex.” No mention of side effects or whether they are treating a real medical condition.
Drug companies, psychiatrists and doctors have enriched themselves by promoting drugs as the solution to all ills mental and physical. The media cheerfully run ads and uncritical articles.
If we are to get serious about ending doping in sports then it has to be part of a broader conversation of why we have allowed drugs, legal and illegal, to have such a large role in our lives, how do we identify which substances are beneficial and which are harmful and how we can make use of those that are helpful in a way that still leaves us in control of our lives.
According to reports on the fire at Dodger Stadium, thousands of fans had to be moved to other seats. When was the last time in the last 30-plus years that there was room at Dodger Stadium to move even a few fans anywhere?
San Luis Obispo
If one of the causes of a second fire at Dodger Stadium this week is to be believed, it is, sadly, not the first case this year of someone there turning on a fan.
It’s clear why Fox continues to prop up the McCourt ownership of the Dodgers. They are not only the McCourt’s biggest enabler, but also the biggest beneficiary of his malpractice. Every empty seat at Dodger Stadium represents a potential viewer on Prime Ticket. Furthermore, McCourt is now forced to make bad long-term decisions that also benefit Fox.
If my livelihood depended on Frank McCourt’s mismanagement, I would send a limousine to make sure he gets to the office every day.
Dear Bill Stoneman:
Please accept my apologies for celebrating your departure a few years ago. Yeah, you should have dealt prospects like Brandon Wood or Dallas McPherson before they proved they couldn’t play and yeah, you shouldn’t have signed Gary Matthews, but you did put together teams that won a World Series and consistently won division titles. Turns out you weren’t so bad after all.
And your successor — who has spent $140 million to assemble a group for whom Alberto Callaspo bats fourth — has made you look like Branch Rickey. So, if I promise not to whine that you won’t make a deadline deal, will you please come back?
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