On the Lakers, Panthers and new mugshots
If you like the new mugshot, make sure to send an e-mail, ideally using the word "fiiiiiine" somewhere in there.
If you don't, it's because of all those buns I used to eat at Burger King.
- Much to the delight of our staff clerk, John, the Lakers are having some major problems.
For starters, Los Angeles is battling an injury epidemic. Shaq, Kobe and The Mailman all missed Friday's game against the Kings.
Meanwhile, even when all the players are healthy, the team has not been nearly as invincible as many predicted. The Lakers may be suffering from what NBA experts call "too many guys who have been superstars and get really mad when they don't get enough shots" syndrome. (This is a highly-technical term.)
NBA teams always do best when there is a clear pecking order for shots, and Los Angeles just has too many talented scorers on its roster.
Mark it down: If Kobe continues to shoot more than Shaq - at this point, he's taking 3.7 more shots per game than The Diesel - the Lakers aren't winning the title. Shaq's got to be the first option.
- On that subject, you'll rarely find me giving Charles Barkley credit for anything except being fat, loud and funny, but he made an excellent point recently when he said that if Bryant leaves the Lakers after this season as a free agent, he'll be just another Tracy McGrady.
Excellent point, Mr. Round Mound of Rebound. Without Shaq, Bryant is not going to win a title anytime soon. Bryant's a great player, one of the five best in the league, but the reason he is perceived as a winner is because of Shaq.
If Bryant leaves, he'll find out just how tough life in the NBA can be when you don't have a 7-foot-1, 340-pound center to draw the opponent's attention.
- At least once a day, Larry Holmes must see a George Foreman grill and gnash his teeth, thinking about the unfairness of life.
- Has there ever been a more nondescript team a game away from the Super Bowl than the Carolina Panthers?
Their quarterback, Jake Delhomme, entered the season with exactly three touchdown passes in his first six NFL seasons, and none since 1999.
Amazingly, Delhomme can probably be considered one of the team's best-known players. Most football fans just know that the Panthers were awful a few years ago - they lost 15 games in a row to end the 2001 season - and now they appear to be pretty good.
But that's it. Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is, by himself, a more compelling story than the entire Carolina roster. Heck, his incredible balding Afro is a better discussion piece.
The only way the Panthers would make the Super Bowl interesting would be if Delhomme got hurt and 37-year-old Rodney Peete filled in. These days Peete is sporting one of the best guts ever seen on a quarterback, and let's face it, it's always funny to see a guy with a gut playing a position other than lineman.
- If I'm on a plane and the pilot drops dead, I want Colts quarterback Peyton Manning taking the controls.
Who knows if he can fly, but has there ever been a quarterback this hot in the playoffs before?
- Want to know the best part about the Angels signing so many talented players this offseason? It ensures Alex Rodriguez and the Texas Rangers will finish in last place once again in 2004.
You ever think A-Rod wonders if he wouldn't have been better off learning to somehow get by on the $17 million per year the Mariners were offering him?
- Like so many fans, several members of baseball's Hall of Fame were outraged at the crassness of Pete Rose's "apology," which was little more than a thinly-veiled attempt to sell his book.
Rose, who earlier this week was ripped by Ferguson Jenkins and Gaylord Perry - though the ball-doctoring Perry is not in much of a position to lecture anyone about cheating - was slammed by Hank Aaron on Friday, who basically called the hit king a liar and said that under no circumstances should Rose be let into the Hall or back into the game.
Seriously, who is giving Rose advice these days? Even Trent Lott is amazed by how badly Rose has botched his apology.
- If Greg Maddux signs with the Cubs, it means they'll be fielding a starting rotation that begins with Mark Prior, Kerry Wood and Maddux.
The Astros, their chief NL Central rival, will have Roy Oswalt, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens at the top of theirs. This has the potential to be an epic pennant race.
Of course, the Cubs hired former Boston Red Sox manager Grady Little for a front office job on Friday.
If Little somehow screws up the Cubs' chances of winning the pennant, Pete Rose might no longer be the most hated man in baseball.
Rich Polikoff can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6882.