The gut feeling after Orlando's stupendous chokejob Thursday night was that it would be too hard for them to recover for Game 5. That's exactly what happened, although the Lakers are the better team anyway. This is being portrayed as Kobe's triumph, and to some extent that's true although that doesn't mean his selfishness wrecking his first three title run Laker team should be ignored or minimized. When Mark Jackson said Kobe was as good as we've seen at the two guard spot I just shook my head. He's not even close to Michael Jordan's stature yet, and I don't see him getting there. As for the Magic, we'll see what they do about Hedo Turkoglu. It certainly won't be a real good way to say thanks for the new arena if they don't keep him. To honor the Laker victory, please turn your speakers all the way up and enjoy the musical stylings of the mid Eighties Lakers with their Just Say No rap. No one breaks it down quite like Kurt Rambis.
Two months ago, high school basketball star Jeremy Tyler announced he would head to Europe and skip his senior year of high school. Now Bryce Harper's going to do him one better. The Nevada high school baseball stud, who was on the cover of Spots Illustrated a couple of weeks ago, is bailing after his sophomore year to turn pro quicker. I suppose this is better news than another plan Harper's family had reportedly been considering at Scott Boras's suggestion - moving to the Dominican Republic so he could be a free agent rather than go through the draft process. Maybe Harper will handle things just fine, but ten years ago Josh Hamilton was supposed to be the same kind of can't miss prospect. He wound up taking a major detour because he couldn't deal with the money and expectations. I hope Harper can avoid that, but this is a very disturbing trend. High school years have value, and anything that encourages greedy and/or delusional parents to shove their kids through as quick as they can to try and get the big score is bad news.
UF beat writer Joseph Goodman's blog on the Miami Herald features a post with the headline You've Got to Have Thugs To Win Football Games. That is a load of crap. You've got to have athletes who are true competitors to win. Some players who fit that description are also thugs, but not all thugs fit that description. With all the hype about UF's arrests in the past four years, how many of those arrested guys played a meaningful role in the 2008 championship? Louis Murphy and Brandon James had pot charges during their time at UF - if that makes them thugs then I went to school with a lot of thugs. If having "thugs" is so important to winning, how come UF's didn't amount to anything on the team that won it all? I like Goodman, but what he's doing here is taking the easy, cynical approach. Some schools choose to win with bad guys, but that's not the only way.
Joe Buck's new HBO show makes its debut tonight. It's clear that Buck thinks he's a really funny, hip guy. My question is why anyone else would feel that way. The guy reacted to Randy Moss's simulated moon of Green Bay fans like he'd pulled a Pee Wee Herman in the end zone. Buck tried to get himself a sitcom at FOX. The same network that has said yes to Michael Strahan's acting debut turned him down. That should speak volumes, but Buck's comedy dreams live on. I don't think I'll be tuning in tonight.
Living in Columbia is very different than living in Florida was. When a weird story makes news these days, I always expect it to have happened somewhere in Florida. There's nowhere near as much of that kind of thing here, but unfortunately there are stories like this. It is in fact 2009 here - I checked again today just to be sure.