The Sports Report: Who is the biggest icon in L.A. sports history?

John Wooden
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. After a brief vacation hiatus (which I spent at home, yippee!), we are back and I need your help.

There isn’t a lot going on in the sports world right now, so how do we fill a newsletter five days a week? I rely on you, the reader.

We are going to have a tournament to decide the biggest icon in the history of L.A. sports. And yes, we will count Orange County in that too.


Here’s what I need from you. Send me an email at with your candidates for biggest sports icon. A list of some obvious candidates appear below. Don’t include those in your list. We will whittle the list to 64 and then will pit them March Madness style in a tournament, with readers of this newsletter voting to determine the winner of each matchup until we get the ultimate winner.

So what are you waiting for! Send me the list of people not included below.

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Preliminary list:


Kareem Abdul-Jabbar/Lew Alcindor (also counts his UCLA days)
Elgin Baylor
Kobe Bryant
Jerry Buss
Wilt Chamberlain
Chick Hearn
Phil Jackson
Magic Johnson
Shaquille O’Neal
Pat Riley
Jerry West
James Worthy

Don Drysdale
Steve Garvey
Orel Hershiser
Clayton Kershaw
Sandy Koufax
Tommy Lasorda
Walter O’Malley
Vin Scully
Fernando Valenzuela
Maury Wills

Nolan Ryan
Mike Trout

Eric Dickerson
Deacon Jones
Jackie Slater
Jack Youngblood


Marcus Allen (also includes his USC days)
Tom Flores
Howie Long
Jim Plunkett

Rob Blake
Dustin Brown
Marcel Dionne
Drew Doughty
Wayne Gretzky
Anze Kopitar
Bob Miller
Jonathan Quick
Luc Robitaille
Dave Taylor
Rogie Vachon

Ryan Getzlaf
Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Paul Kariya
Scott Niedermayer
Teemu Selanne

Arthur Ashe
Evelyn Ashford
Florence Griffith-Joyner
Rafer Johnson
Jackee Joyner-Kersee
Karch Kiraly
Ann Meyers
Jackie Robinson
Bill Walton
John Wooden


Anthony Davis
Reggie Bush
Pete Carroll
Rod Dedeaux
Mike Garrett
Sammy Lee
Matt Leinart
Lisa Leslie
John McKay
Cheryl Miller
Troy Polamalu
John Robinson
Lynn Swann

David Beckham
Landon Donovan
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Carlos Vela

Michelle Kwan
Misty May-Treanor
Serena Williams
Venus Williams
Tiger Woods


The NCAA Division I Council voted Monday to approve an extra year of eligibility for all spring sport athletes who had their seasons canceled because of COVID-19, but the generosity will come with a caveat for seniors:


If they choose to return for another year, the Council, “in a nod to the financial uncertainty faced by higher education,” provided schools the flexibility to give athletes whose eligibility was set to expire in 2019-20 the chance to come back in 2020-21 without requiring that athletics aid be awarded to each player at the same level.

While seniors could see their scholarship agreements changed — in some cases decreased to zero aid — underclassmen and incoming freshmen will not see a difference.

Coaches will have to have some difficult conversations in the coming weeks with seniors who want another shot at finishing their careers on a championship note but might have to pay more of their schooling.


SoFi Stadium, the $5-billion future home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers, is scheduled to open in late July with a Taylor Swift concert. And nothing, not even the coronavirus outbreak that has staggered entire industries and kept tens of millions of workers across the county at home, is stopping construction.


Over the weekend, an unidentified worker tested positive for COVID-19 and another Monday was said to be “presumed positive.” But an estimated 3,000 people — carpenters, crane operators, electricians, iron workers, painters and tile layers — remain on the job. Some of them, though thankful for the opportunity while unemployment skyrockets, worry that the project could expose them and their families to the virus.

“If our safety was the most important thing, they wouldn’t have us out here,” a tile layer said before getting news of the positives. “Everybody is talking about it. Your focus isn’t 100% on your work. You have that in the back of your head. … We feel like we’re invisible.”

The tile layer was among a half-dozen construction workers who spoke with The Times on the condition they not be identified for fear of retribution. They are conflicted and wonder if they’re putting their health at risk to collect good pay as the economy deteriorates.

You can read the rest of this story by clicking here.



Vowing to overcome the “unprecedented challenge” of the COVID-19 pandemic, Olympic leaders announced Monday that the 2020 Tokyo Games will be rescheduled for mid-summer of 2021.

The July 23–Aug. 8 dates fall almost exactly a year after the global sporting event was originally scheduled to be held this year.

“Humankind currently finds itself in a dark tunnel,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee. “These Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 can be a light at the end of this tunnel.”


When the NHL season was suspended on March 12, the Kings were entering one of coach Todd McLellan’s most anticipated stretches.


The team had won seven games in a row as its remade, post-trade-deadline roster reeled its best hockey of the season.

“Players were doing things the right way, we were coming together as a team, we were structurally much more efficient and less error-prone than in the past,” McLellan said, “which is everything that we could ask from a relatively new group.”

Even with only 12 games to go and no real chance to mount a playoff push, McLellan was eager to see what came next.

“It would have been interesting to see if we would have maintained it,” McLellan said, “or if we would have begun to stray from structure, stray from the commitment to doing things right. Often with success, that begins to happen, especially with a young team. So it would have been a great teaching and learning opportunity for us to go through.”



1878: Boxer Jack Johnson (d. 1946)

1916: Golfer Tommy Bolt (d. 2008)

1928: Hockey player Gordie Howe (d. 2016)

1936: Former Kings coach Bob Pulford


1960: Football player Mark Tuinei

1961: Sprinter Ron Brown

1971: Hockey player Pavel Bure

1984: Soccer player Eddie Johnson



1931: College football coach Knute Rockne, 43

1980: Athlete Jesse Owens, 66

1998: Race car driver Tim Flock, 73


Jesse Owens at the 1936 Olympics. Watch it here.


Until next time...

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