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Archive for Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some sports questions to ponder

June 9, 2009

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Newspapers have cut back. We used to run a feature in the sports section called Questions and Answers. Today, you just get questions:

Will Doris Burke ever interview anybody other than Kobe?

Does Frank McCourt want a mulligan for his statement that he’d like to see Manny in the All-Star Game?

And did Jamie McCourt really mean that she thought the fans would welcome Manny back with open arms, or did she mean she hoped they would, because the Dodgers would sell lots more tickets then?

What’s with all these debates about who’s the best of all time — Kobe, Michael or LeBron? Roger, Rod or Pete? Tiger, Jack or Arnie?

Are these debates appealing because we know there is no answer, that no matter how stupid our arguments, we can’t be wrong? Is it because there are too many media outlets with gobs of time or space to fill and increasingly less imagination as to how to do that? Or is it because we have a generation of sports fans with air flowing freely between their ears?

If Tiger can hit a 9-iron 170 yards to birdie range, as he did in Sunday’s Memorial, should not the tour ponder rules changes, such as basketball did with Wilt Chamberlain when it widened the lane? How about little wrist weights for Tiger, kind of like they put in Secretariat’s saddle?

If Manny and Roger Clemens shared a lawyer, would the savings in legal fees be significant? Or doesn’t it matter for Manny, because Jamie McCourt says he will be embraced by the fans?

Will Doris Burke ever interview anybody other than Kobe?

How many U.S. athletes could give a thank-you speech in two languages, as Federer did after his historic French Open victory Sunday. How many U.S. athletes could give a coherent thank-you speech in one language?

Does the class with which Federer handles himself, and the diplomatic way he moves around the world and seems to transcend sport, give him the inside edge for a post-tennis career as Swiss ambassador to the United Nations?

When UCLA got into a recent hassle over asking a 31-year-old actor to be its commencement speaker (and ended up settling on a rocker), did it consider asking one of the most learned, articulate and inspirational orators of our time to fill in, or was 98-year-old John Wooden busy that day?

Aren’t all these debates about the best-ever athlete in various sports a bit sexist? In tennis, for example, can you leave Steffi Graff out of the conversation, just because she couldn’t hit a first serve 135 mph?

And shouldn’t there be other considerations in these debates, such as in pro basketball? Shouldn’t one-time Los Angeles Clipper Benoit Benjamin, who couldn’t play a lick and who once told the fans he didn’t give a damn about them, get extra credit just for showing up?

Does television have special editors during the NBA playoffs, who tape everything the coaches say for the WIRED segment and then use only a selection of boring inanities? Or do NBA coaches, in timeout huddles at key moments of these key games, really only say things such as: “We’ve got to play better defense?” Or: “Keep the ball moving?”

Which will come first, a new NFL team in Los Angeles or a ruling by the NCAA on Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo?

Will Doris Burke ever interview anybody other than Kobe?

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