Lakers' ownership announces they've signed Kobe to a max contract without knowing the status of his health, Phil announces he's signing with the Knicks, and Webster's dictionary announces they're putting a picture of Jim next to the word "Blunderbuss."
You could put Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Jerry West in the Lakers' front office and they still wouldn't be able to surround the aging $24-million-per-year Kobe Bryant with enough talent to resurrect the Lakers in one or two years because there isn't enough room left under the salary cap. Bryant will just have to endure his frustration over the Lakers losing all the way to the bank.
Just as no one reasonably expects Magic's son to be as great as he was on the court, we're kidding ourselves to think that just because his father was arguably one of the greatest pro sports owners ever, the rest of the Buss family can fill his shoes. While we can all hope that the kids will put the team and their fans ahead of their own egos and wishes, it's hard to believe they will suddenly put anything, least of all fans, ahead of their own agendas.
RIP, Dr. Buss.
The Laker brand is currently taking a hit, like serving sour milk (while the Clipper brand serves up a new and improved chocolate milk). If Jerry Buss were alive, he would have simply bought the best producing cow, Phil Jackson. I think Jim Buss is lactose intolerant. With Phil going to the Knicks, who's the goat now?
Nice to see that Kobe has once again donned his general manager cap and issued a veiled ultimatum to the Buss family. Where was that critical eye when he let the Lakers sign an aging, injury-prone superstar to nearly $50 million for two years?
San Luis Obispo
Pencil me in as one of the few fans that think Jim Buss is making the right decision when it comes to Phil Jackson.
Who would turn over their billion-dollar company that you were groomed to run for the last 10 years to someone with zero experience in that area? There is no guarantee that Phil will be a great executive. Phil would probably suck up all the air in the room and subsequently chase off Mitch Kupchak. (Remember he alienated Jerry West from the Lakers). Why would Jim want to take the blame if Phil fails, which is inevitable? And finally, we all agree that Jerry Buss was almost flawless in his decision making, so why don't we trust his decision to assign Jim the responsibility of running the Lakers?
Bill Plaschke has it all wrong. The Lakers don't need Phil Jackson back. At some point, the Lakers have to show that they can exist without crying back to Jackson every time there's a problem. Without a doubt, D'Antoni needs to go the way of the Edsel, but there must be at least one other coach in the world not named Jackson that can coach this team. If not, we'll have to change our name to the Los Angeles Jacksons.
Craig P. Fagan
I was amused by Bill Plaschke's comment that the Lakers have been in "slow decay" since Jerry Buss' death. Dr. Buss passed away 13 months ago. The Lakers are in last place. What does fast decay look like?
So the hugely dysfunctional Knicks want Phil Jackson as team president and Bill Plaschke thinks they're on to something. Maybe. After all, they're the franchise that hired and backed Isiah Thomas through his missteps; the team that overpaid an aging and injured Amare Stoudemire; the team that traded away all their talent for Carmelo Anthony; and the team that squandered Jeremy Lin's magic for nothing. Phil Jackson's very presence is going to turn that around? Based on what? That he's a genius getting superstar egomaniacs to win championships together? Bill, you're thinking with your heart again.
The Knicks disappeared from the championship map so long ago that Phil is going to have them run the Bermuda Triangle .
It's hard to blame Kobe for making the cash grab but he can't then turn around and blame the team for not spending money on Phil or anyone else. Kobe has shown, as always, it's win at all costs, as long as it doesn't cost him any dough.
Before Jim Buss leaves, I'm sure hoping we can get a good look at what is under his ever-present cap.
Jim B. Parsons
I saw the Dodgers in the Coliseum where banjo-hitting Wally Moon hit pop fly home runs over the left field fence. I saw Willie Mays hit for the cycle there. I fell asleep on summer evenings to the sound of Vin Scully's voice wafting through the house. I saw Frank Howard hit a grand slam that still orbits the Earth today. I saw Sandy Koufax strike out batter after batter. I heard the stadium chant, "Go! Go! Go!" when Maury Wills reached first base. I saw Walter Alston walk calmly to the mound to stop the bleeding. I saw Manny Mota come off the bench and hit seemingly every at bat. I saw the Duke. I saw Tommy John. I saw the Bulldog and Gibson.
Alas, I will never see Clayton Kershaw challenge Koufax's records. I will never see Yasiel Puig mature and become a superstar. The Grinch has stolen baseball. L.A.'s most beloved athlete, the ringmaster of Showtime, the one they call Magic, has sold us out to Time Warner Cable. There is no joy in Mudville today.
Paul Moser III
I know Magic broke his cease-fire versus the Lakers, but give him a break. He probably needs to blow off some steam, given the number of decisions he and his management team made to ensure the fans are treated with the utmost respect.
Some of the following decisions made by the Dodgers, with the fans in mind, would tire any executive out. For example, raising the parking fees to $15 must have been agonizing (Where's McCourt when you need him?). Or, raising ticket prices by 25% in the section where I buy tickets. And, let's not forget the new ticket distribution scam, I mean plan. I am sure it was so painful to unilaterally stop distributing real tickets. Let's not forget the new and improved pricing plan in the Stadium Club. How about a nice dinner on the patio? Don't worry, my man. Just buy a season ticket for a seat at one of the tables. Guess what? You still get to pay $11 for a beer and $35-plus for the buffet. What bargains for us fans!
Thank you so much, Magic and friends. Gotta run. I'm on my way to the bank to get an equity line of credit so I can go to a Dodgers game.
I am a longtime fan of baseball, and Bill Shaikin's article about Frank Jobe points out the reason I, and I am sure, many others continue to wonder when the Hall of Fame directors will get into the 21st century. Until they can figure out how to let the guy with more hits than anyone in baseball into Cooperstown and deal consistently with the steroid issue, the Hall of Fame is going to be less and less important to fans like me.
Abbott and Costello have been honored by the baseball Hall of Fame and Dr. Jobe hasn't? What's wrong with that picture?
When chronicling the career of the late Dr. Frank Jobe, The Times should have held the picture of Eric Gagne until the guy who invented PEDs passes away.
It's good for you
I received my annual call yesterday from Dish TV trying to get me to switch over and leave my current satellite provider.
In the past, their enticements to get me to switch have been the usual industry standard, run-of-the-mill short term discounts.
This time the sales pitch was different. When the telemarketer discovered I was a die-hard Los Angeles sports fan, he told me that switching to Dish Network would be better for my health. I asked how that could be possible.
He then informed me that Dish TV does not have the Lakers' channel.
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