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The Sports Report: LeBron James helped select this Lakers team

LeBron James does an interview during media day Tuesday.
LeBron James does an interview during media day Tuesday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

Dan Woike on the Lakers: LeBron James helped pick them all — the veterans, the stars and the up-and-comers who put on their new golden Lakers jerseys for the first time Tuesday.

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It’s his team, his vision for winning, his plan taking action. If it works, it’ll be his success. If it fails, it’ll be his letdown.

So, he’s got a plan for how he’s going to make it work with Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and the rest of his teammates.

“I always figure it out,” James said nonchalantly during media day in El Segundo.

He’s been one of basketball’s safest bets, with four league championships and appearances in nine of the last 11 NBA Finals. He’s done it with supporting stars from Dwyane Wade to Kyrie Irving, from Chris Bosh to Kevin Love. He did it with Davis. And now, he’ll try to add Westbrook and Anthony to the Lakers’ equation.

“He can do it all. … And he’s willing to do it all,” coach Frank Vogel said. “… All these other stars that he’s played with, he’s adapted his game, done whatever’s necessary to win and put himself in position for the ultimate goal. The willingness to do it is one thing, but when you have his skill set and his mind, he literally can do it all.

“So I’m very confident that that’s going to work itself out.”

Internally, there have been conversations about how that’s going to look. James’ on-court relationship with Davis is much clearer — a ball-dominant player with top-notch vision playing with an incredibly gifted all-around finisher. With Westbrook, there’s redundancy. He and James do everything, the two active leaders in triple-doubles with 283 combined. Questions about whether there’s enough air space for the two to operate at the same time is a real concern, no matter what anyone said Tuesday.

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DODGERS

Bill Shaikin on the Dodgers: These were the nights made for Vin Scully. To a previous generation of fans, a Dodgers-Giants pennant stretch meant a transistor radio was a must, as a city listened to Scully call the Dodgers and Giants games simultaneously – the Dodgers live from Los Angeles, the Giants off the ticker from San Francisco.

ESPN had not been invented, and neither had the Internet. The score from an out-of-town game was not instantly available to the average fan. Scully was a dramatic narrator for a city hanging on his every word.

Those days are long gone, of course, and Scully is retired. Any score, anywhere, is a click or two away on your phone.

Everything old is new again: In 1962, the Dodgers led the Giants by two games with five to play, but San Francisco forced a tiebreaker. In 2021, the Giants lead the Dodgers by two games with five to play, with the Dodgers hoping to force a tiebreaker.

At Dodger Stadium, the Dodgers beat the San Diego Padres, 2-1, behind seven shutout innings from Walker Buehler. However, in San Francisco, the Giants maintained their lead with a 6-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Technology has not eliminated the drama. Instead of a stadium and a city learning every development all at once from Scully, fans can learn by listening, watching, streaming and clicking as they wish. On Tuesday, fans anxiously followed along as developments flowed from north to south in California, and back again.

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Jaime Jarrín to retire: ‘It’s a good time to put an end to my 64-year vacation’

ANGELS

Jack Harris on the Angels: Joe Maddon said he isn’t the type of manager to talk with his players about things they say to the media.

Shohei Ohtani’s postgame comments Sunday, however, certainly caught the attention of the Angels’ second-year skipper.

Following the team’s final home game of the season, Ohtani spoke to reporters about his desire to win and his disappointment with a fourth-straight season since coming to Anaheim that will end without a playoff appearance.

“I really like the team. I love the fans. I love the atmosphere of the team,” Ohtani said through his interpreter. “But, more than that, I want to win. That’s the biggest thing for me. I’ll leave it at that.”

The comments seemed to potentially call into question whether Ohtani -- who is under contract for two more seasons, and who said no negotiations over an extension have taken place -- would want to stay with the club long term.

Before the Angels’ 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on Tuesday, however, Maddon said he had a different interpretation of what Ohtani was saying.

“He’s not talking about leaving,” Maddon said. “He’s talking about winning.”

“We all want to win,” Maddon said. “If anybody misconstrues [Ohtani’s comments] as though he wants to leave, that’s trying to connect some dots that are not at all what he said.

“He was just addressing the fact that he wants to win. I think he also mentioned how much he loves it here … He’s just venting and saying everything we’re all thinking and wanting.”

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: The goggles are back this season for Reggie Jackson.

More importantly, so is a newfound outlook on his career, a renewed self-belief the Clippers’ point guard began to feel last season well before a poked eye necessitated the use of his now-signature protective eyewear.

One year after Jackson questioned how much passion remained for the game following an unfulfilling, embarrassing postseason exit, and 10 months after he entered the team’s following training camp unable to envision what awaited him as one of the roster’s last offseason signings, the 31-year-old point guard began his 11th season Tuesday in a far different place, and not only because practice was held at San Diego State.

Jackson now has stability from a contract worth $22 million guaranteed, a role of elevated importance within coach Tyronn Lue’s projected starting lineup and deep appreciation for his career turnaround after his postseason performances turned him into something of a folk hero among Clippers fans.

RAMS-CHARGERS

Big victories for L.A. teams against the conference champions, the Rams beating the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Chargers beating the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs on the road.

L.A. is a better two-team NFL city than winless New York with the Jets and Giants, but are the Rams and Chargers super? In a chat moderated by NFL editor Athan Atsales, let’s open the roundtable for Rams beat writer Gary Klein, Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller, and columnists Bill Plaschke and Helene Elliott.

BOXING

Boxing legend Manny Pacquiao is officially hanging up his gloves.

The eight-division world champion and Philippines senator on Wednesday announced his retirement from the ring,

“As I hang up my boxing gloves, I would like to thank the whole world, especially the Filipino people for supporting Manny Pacquiao. Goodbye boxing,” the 42-year old said in a 14-minute video posted on his Facebook page. “It is difficult for me to accept that my time as a boxer is over. Today I am announcing my retirement.“

UCLA FOOTBALL

Follow our live blog for all the news leading up to the UCLA-Arizona State game.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1923 — Gene Sarazen beats Walter Hagen 1 up to capture the PGA championship.

1941 — Joe Louis knocks out Lou Nova in the sixth round at the Polo Grounds in New York to retain the world heavyweight title.

1954 — Willie Mays makes his over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz’ long drive to center field and pinch-hitter Dusty Rhodes homers off Bob Lemon in the 10th inning to lead the New York Giants to a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians in Game 1 of the World Series.

1974 — Dr. Norbert Sander Jr. wins the New York City Marathon in 2:26:30 and Kathy Switzer capture the women’s division in 3:07:29.

1977 — Muhammad Ali wins a unanimous 15-round decision over Earnie Shavers at Madison Square Garden in New York to retain his world heavyweight title.

1984 — Mike Prindle of Western Michigan sets an NCAA record by kicking seven field goals in a 42-7 rout over Marshall.

1985 — Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon is sacked 12 times in a 17-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys to tie an NFL record.

1991 — Pat Bradley wins the MBS LPGA Classic by one shot over Michelle Estill for her 30th career victory, qualifying her for the LPGA Hall of Fame.

1995 — The NHL and NHL Players Assn. strike a deal to allow league players to participate in the 1998 Winter Olympics.

2000 — At the Sydney Olympics, the U.S. men’s basketball team escapes the humiliation of playing for a bronze medal with an 85-83 victory over Lithuania in the semifinals. It’s the closest victory and biggest scare for a U.S. Olympic team since NBA players started competing in 1992.

2002 — After losing to Iowa State, Nebraska drops out of the Associated Press Top 25 football poll after being ranked for 348 consecutive weeks. The last time Nebraska was missing from the poll was Oct. 5, 1981.

2002 — Seattle’s Shaun Alexander scores an NFL-record five touchdowns in the first half of a 48-23 rout of Minnesota. He finishes with 139 yards rushing and 92 receiving and one TD short of the league mark of six in a game.

2004 — Major League Baseball announces the Montreal Expos will move to Washington to begin play at RFK Stadium in the 2005 season.

2012 — Geno Smith throws for 656 yards and ties a Big 12 record with eight touchdown passes to lead No. 9 West Virginia to a 70-63 win over No. 25 Baylor. Smith outduels Baylor’s Nick Florence, who has a standout game of his own with 581 yards and five TDs. Baylor’s Terrance Williams sets a Big 12 record with 314 yards receiving. The old mark was set minutes earlier by West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, who had 303 yards and five TDs.

2015 — NCAA bans the SMU men’s basketball team from the postseason and suspends coach Larry Brown for nine games, saying he lied to investigators and ignored a case of academic fraud by a player.

2018 — Seventeen-year-old Hailie Deegan uses a bump-and-run on her teammate to become the first female winner of a NASCAR K&N West Series race. Her last-lap shove of Cole Rouse at Meridian Speedway in Idaho gives her the victory.

Supplied by the Associated Press

And finally

Willie Mays makes “The Catch”. Watch and listen here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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