Story of the Week


    Every so often, I will devote a full column to just Quick Takes as my feature article, as I am doing today.

    Jerry West, one of basketball’s all-time great players, is the best GM in NBA history. He did it with the Lakers. Now he’s done it with the upstart Memphis Grizzlies. He hired a premier veteran coach, Hubie Brown, the NBA Coach of the Year, to lead this fledgling team, and Memphis made it to the playoffs for the first time. It won’t be their last.

    I owe the Dodgers an apology. It’s still early, but they’re making me eat "baseball crow." They’re the positive surprise of the 2004 major league season thus far.

    How about this for ethics over and above the call of duty?! Detroit Red Wings goalie Dominick Hasek has refused to accept about $3 million of his annual salary because he has been sidelined with a groin injury. It was announced on February 10 that he would miss the remainder of the season with the injury. He has not accepted the salary check legally due him since January 9.

    Tom Heinsohn is not my favorite commentator, but he’s right. He criticized Shaquille O’Neal for complaining about NBA refs, and that they’re out to get him. That is a joke! Shaq is rarely called for a three-second violation. His two feet never leave the paint, not to mention all the hip-hop travels he gets away with.

    Phil Mickelson endured so much bad press for so long because he couldn’t win a major. No more "choker" tag for him; now his critics will put a sock in it. And even before his Masters win, these same critics would gladly have traded incomes with him.

    Did you know that Pat Riley has a claim to fame other than being one of the finest coaches in NBA history? He was a high school All-American quarterback.

    It’s a great line; I wish I’d have thought of it. Right behind the U.S., Japan and China, the highest GNP in the world is the New York Yankees. And even if they score 1,000 runs this season, they still don’t have the pitching to win it all. Then watch George’s melt-down. But I do give him credit; he could pocket all that money, but the guy wants to win period!

    No college basketball team from SoCal made it to March Madness. Not UCLA, not USC, not anyone. That is a sad epitaph to an area that is home to mega-millions of people.

    Roger Clemens’ 97 MPH fastball didn’t kill Mike Piazza, so he decided that maybe a splintered bat might. Remember? Classless Clemens is now with the NL Houston Astros, so no more absurd DH rule for him; now he’s got to bat for himself. Retribution requires patience and timing; it’s been a while, but Piazza and the Mets haven’t forgotten. The Mets and Astros play in Houston May 14-16, and in New York August 10-12. Don’t be surprised if Clemens misses the pitching rotation in those series.

    Spike Lee recently stated that Larry Bird is the most overrated player in NBA history. Spike Lee should stick to what he knows, if there is such a subject. Larry Bird is one of the greatest small forwards ever to play the game. Would a basketball fit into Spike Lee’s mouth? 

Last Week’s Trivia

    The four tight ends in NFL history with 500 or more catches are Ozzie Newsome, Kellen Winslow, Shannon Sharpe and Frank Wycheck.

Trivia Question of the Week

    What pitcher owns the major league record for most career appearances? See next week’s Sports Junkie for the answer.