Letters to Sports: Lakers might be champions, but they aren’t playing like it

Jim Thompson cartoon for March 6, 2021.

The All-Star break couldn’t have come soon enough for the Lakers. Winning only three games out of their last 10 didn’t tell the whole story. The injuries and missed games because of protocol aside, the facts are that the Lakers are 11-9 against teams above .500 and 0-5 against teams with a better or equal record. With Anthony Davis in the lineup, they are 9-6 against above-.500 teams and 0-2 against teams with a better record. This is not a good sign. After 37 games, the holes are deepening.

The loss of McGee and Howard, Rondo and Green has hurt them on the defensive side. And I don’t want to hear how tired they are. The facts are, this team isn’t as good as it was last year and they absolutely need to make changes upfront and in the backcourt.

Geno Apicella



So LeBron James comes out again as a social justice warrior. “I would never never shut up about things that are wrong.”

Funny, when Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey asked for people to stand up for Hong Kong against the corrupt Communist China regime, James did just that as he shut up and chose profits over human rights.

Bert Bergen
La Cañada


Sorry to learn Kawhi Leonard reported that he had a back spasm before the Boston game and didn’t think he could play. Maybe he could donate the $454,722 he got paid to charity or some of the homeless who might have back spasms sleeping in the street every night.

Kevin H. Park
Westlake Village

Blake Griffin is back on the free-agent market after the Detroit Pistons bought him out of his contract. Here’s why the Lakers should pass on him.

March 5, 2021


College daze

With an apparent straight face, Clay Helton said he doesn’t have any update on whether USC will ever get to make up its lost nonconference game with mighty Alabama.

Translation: That’s something for my replacement to worry about.

Steve Ross
Beverly Hills


I made two resolutions this year: 1) maintain an open mind regarding Chip Kelly, and 2) not die from the coronavirus. So far so good, until I read Ben Bolch’s account of Kelly’s interview, where he met questions with the snarky disdain usually reserved for winners — see Bill Belichick.

So, one resolution down and the other in a prevent defense.

Mario Valvo


Ben Bolch writes that UCLA football is hoping to accept season-ticket deposits for a possible 2021 season. With the team’s consistently poor performance under Chip Kelly and Co., it should be the other way around. UCLA should be paying its fans to sit and watch a fourth consecutive dreadful season under this disappointing regime.

Lawrence Martin Kates
Los Angeles


UCLA and USC enter Saturday showdown looking for some redemption — and a possible chance to grab first place in the Pac-12 — after recent struggles.

March 5, 2021


Head coach Mick Cronin’s latest whine is treated like a dispatch from God himself. Travel to Eugene? Play in the Pac-12 tournament? Will the insanity never stop?! Spare us, please. Could someone please remind Mr. Cronin that John Wooden was not a whiner.

Scott Macdonald
West Hollywood


“Defense, defense, and more defense” says the latest wizard of Westwood. Meanwhile, the coach of Oregon heeds his words and switches to a full-court press. UCLA panics, turns over the ball and forgets how to score, while their coach is deaf to their fans at home shouting “offense!”

Alan Segal
San Diego

Tiger’s cause

I see the “cancel culture” is alive and well in the sports world after reading the comments in letters last week. Mr. Gura demonizes Tiger Woods by intimating many character flaws and foibles and his “failures as a human.” Mr. Uhler seems to suggest Tiger should be punished through the legal system. Mr. Gura tells us we need to see Tiger “for who he truly is.” Which is?


Please, open your eyes, you might discover the Tiger Woods Foundation that for the past 25 years has provided educational assistance, mentoring and scholarships for underprivileged youth, under Tiger’s direction. In 2019, nearly $8 million was spent to further these goals, with 90% of services provided to minority youth.

Joseph Hladek

Tiger Woods doesn’t remember the crash, but the SUV he was driving does. It may know his every move

March 5, 2021

The thrill is gone

As a young boy growing up in New York, I was there to see the last years of my heroes Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. Although their performance was waning below even their backups, the thrill was there every time they picked up a bat, strode to the plate or chased a fly ball. Their teams were going nowhere those years so it seemed a fair trade-off.

Albert Pujols is now in his fifth straight year of being under wins below replacement player. He stands and runs like a wooden figure, and probably will hit under .250 yet again. Angels fans and management will have to decide if it’s the same price they pay to their fans for that thrill of seeing a past hero for the last time on a team yet again going nowhere.

Robert Goldstone
Corona Del Mar



Albert Pujols says “he had no regrets” about leaving a dream run in St Louis for the Angels in 2012.

Well, we have a few. The man needs more Band-Aids than an L.A. Thunderbird.

Marty Foster
Pismo Beach

As of today, only the Giants among California’s five MLB teams can admit more than 100 fans, but Dodgers and Angels are close to falling out of the purple tier.

March 5, 2021


I’m tired of people bashing Bill Walton. If he is so bad, why does ESPN keep him on year after year. I love to listen to Walton’s TV analysis; in fact, I consider it must-see TV. Rarely do I watch an entire game of any sporting event, but when the Big Redhead is on, I don’t miss one second of the game. He’s a national treasure for college and pro basketball; when he’s gone we will have only mundane announcers who drone on telling us what we just saw.

David Waldowski
Laguna Woods

Viral staircase

I’m not sure what its overall record is, but COVID should be in the playoffs of every major sport when you consider how many victories it’s had in terms of canceled games, athlete exposures and general disruption of the sports world. There’s been no greater or consistent champion in the past year.


Ron Yukelson
San Luis Obispo


So the Dodgers want fans in Chavez Ravine and Gov. Newsom wants to stay in Sacramento.

Best bet of the year is public safety finishes a distant third.

Fred Wallin
Westlake Village


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