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First things first: As at least a couple of respondents knew, the two former athletes on Hill Street Blues were Ed Marinaro (Cornell football) and Michael Warren (UCLA basketball). Congratulations if you got it right, though, of course, you win nothing.

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Watching ESPN's Australian Open coverage, I was struck by a couple of things regarding announcer Tim Ryan.

One, he looks more and more like he could be Billie Jean King's brother. And no, I don't mean Randy Moffitt, the former major league pitcher, King's actual brother.

Two, some of his comments during Venus Williams' first-round defeat reminded me how the tennis "play-by-play" person is much more the critic than usually comes with that role in other sports. As Williams struggled, Ryan joined in the familiar criticism of the Williams sisters for their lack of match preparation. He let everyone know he wasn't buying the line -- put forth by Williams supporters -- that Venus and Serena get lots of work by virtue of the fact that they practice against each other and thus are hitting with one of the best players in the world. Not the same as a match, Ryan said.

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On Stephen A. Smith's ESPN2 show Monday, he was using the Martin Luther King holiday as a day to take stock of the African-American position in sports. His guests were two of the country's best-spoken individuals on the subject: Harry Edwards (link a little out of date, but gives basics) and Richard Lapchick.

The show was a reasoned discussion, though it certainly didn't break any ground for anyone who has been paying any attention to the subject. I was struck by Edwards' references to "globalization" as an economic factor squeezing the black athlete, mostly because of one example he cited. Edwards mentioned how many players from outside the United States the San Antonio Spurs had. An interesting point, but shouldn't he also have noted the Spurs won the NBA title as well?

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