Saturday, May 20, 2006

L.A. Says Yes to NFL.

The National Football League is finally about to return to Los Angeles. All I can say is, "What took you so long." Since 1996, the greater Los Angeles area - known as the southland - has been without a NFL team. In a bit of irony, the Rams and Raiders moved at the same time. Looking back, the Cleveland Rams relocated to Los Angeles in 1950 winning the NFL title in 1951. Twenty years later, Baltimore Colts' owner, Caroll Rosenbloom, traded franchises with the Rams, Dan Reeves. Roosenbloom took the Rams and the team won nine consecutive divisional crowns including one conference championship and a trip to the Super Bowl; however the Rams lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tragically, Rosenbloom drowned off the Florida coast and a nasty fight over ownership ensued between Rosenblooom's wife, Georgia, also his son, Steve. Georgia won moving the team from the ghetto like atmosphere of South Central to the cool, relaxing, lilly white confines of Anaheim, CA. As the only female owner in the NFL, Georgia couldn't believe her eyes when homely St. Louis offered 25-million dollars to leave plush Beverly Hills. Georgia accepted, but now what does she think about a new Los Angeles franchise being worth a cool $800-million. Meanwhile, the Oakland Raiders left the Bay area and moved to Los Angeles winning a world title in 1984. But when the city of Oakland offered Davis $10-million, he backed out of an agreement for a new stadium in Inglewood, CA and headed back to Oakland...A move he probably regrets. In Southern California, the NFL has two alternatives: a refurbished Memorial Colisuem or a 53-acre lot to build their own state of the art facility next to Anaheim stadium. A mile from Disneyland. Unfortunately for Los Angeles, former owner, Art Modell, described the Colisuem by saying, "Why would you waste a new dress on an old hooker?" Although city council members want to revitalize downtown, it would appear the stodgy NFL owners would rather be within ear shot of Disneyland rather than worrying about their hubcaps being stolen in rowdy South central. As for a team, the timing couldn't be better for the Chargers. Their lease with San Diego expires in 2010; a time when both stadiums could be up and running. New Orleans, meanwhile, has yet to be rebuilt, therefore its doubtful the Saints can hang around much longer. Jacksonville, FL does not have the economic vitality to remain a premier NFL town. So anyone of these clubs could be heading west.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Is This The End Of Superman?

Is this the end of Superman? Judging by last night's pitiful performance Shaquile O'Neal is no longer faster than a speeding bullet, nor able to leap tall building at a single bound; For most of his career, Shaq billed himself as the man of steel, but last night, the New Jersey Nets turned him into liquid metal. Shaq could barely get up and down the floor as Jason Kid, Vince Coleman, and Reggie Jefferson ran O'Neal into exhaustion. In the past, Shaq has been a battering ram. Who can forget the carnage reaped on former 76er center, Ditembe Mutombo. After battling Shaq in the paint, Mutombo emerged looking like he had been run over by a diesel. But has the diesel finally run out of gas? One of the game's greatest centers labors up and down the court like a junk truck struggling to get out of its own way. Every now and then, he finds the open road to his liking and cruises to the occasional dominating performance, however those days are now far and few. Now, the Heat prays the old clunker can get them home one more time without the benefit of a costly tow. For coach, Pat Riley, and star guard, Dwayne Wade, the tail pipe is smoking, the old girl is burning oil, and Shaq's great run is finally coming to an end.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Kobe, "You're No Michael Jordan."

To paraphrase the late senator, Lloyd Benson, "I knew Michael Jordan, he was a friend of mine , and son you're no Michael Jordan." Although Benson said those words to vice president, Dan Quayle, the comment rings true today after surveying Saturday's wreckage of the Los Angeles Lakers. Their main conduit, Kobe Bryant, could not elevate his game nor his teammates to victory. Although Bryant has scored 80-points this season followed by six games of 50 or more, he burned out against the Sun's with 24-points . Even if he scored 100, it may not have been enough to stop the Suns from lighting up the scoreboard. Kobe looked out of place inciting the raucous Phoenix crowd to boo him. Unlike Michael, he could not back it up with timely defense or outer worldly shooting. This is what separates Jordan from all the wannabes including Lebron James. Jordan took a rag tag group of players and almost single handily whipped the opposition. Despite his scoring powress, Bryant was outclassed by
the Suns, Leandro Barbosa, 26 points, Boris Diaw, 21, Raja Bell 13, and Steve Nash, 13. Together, they trumped Kobe who only scored one basket in the second half. Kobe Bryant has always assumed that he was the heir apparent to Air Jordan, but Bryant has yet to win a title since Shaquile O'Neal's departure for Miami. Remarkably, Jordan won six NBA titles without a real big man. Unlike Shaq, former Bulls, Bill Carthwright and Luc Longley, will never get close to Hall of Fame consideration. In a bit of irony, Bryant was asked about his war of words with pesky Sun's defender, Raja Bell. Bryant dismissed him by saying, "He can't guard me and I got bigger fish to fry." After game 7, Bell was asked about defending Kobe Bryant, Bell replied, "Huh, I got bigger fish to fry."

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Cash Strapped Penguins Looking Like Fat Cats.

In Pittsburgh, the rich are getting richer. After signing the next Gretzky, Sidney Crosby, the Penguins are preparing to ink the next Mario Lemiux: Russian , Evgini Malkin. Many scouts are already foaming at the mouth over a player many concede is the best outside the National Hockey League: meaning, Malkin is the best player in the world bar none. The Pens must be doing some serious scouting because they have his draft rights. Pittsburgh also own the rights to the sensational, Alexander Ovechin, however they couldn't afford him. consequently Ovechin signed with the Washington Capitals. He ended the season with 52 goals and 106 points. Malkin's Russian club, Metallug, is seeking a major buyout from the financially strapped Pens. The Russians want $900,000 for his contract possibly more. Malkin, however, wants out now and maybe willing to sign for less, but the Russians say they are calling the shots. If the Penguins can pare Malkin with Crosby, it would look like the reincarnation of Mario Lemiuex and Jamir Jagar. A scoring tandem that led the Penguins to consecutive Stanley Cups. With so many talented European hockey players wanting to test their skills in the NHL, the league could experience an era similar to the good old days. A time when Gordie Howe, Jean Belivue, Bobby Hull, and Bobby Orr made hockey the greatest game on ice.