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James Loving - National Radio Text Service

Lakers throw in the towel on Dennis Rodman after a 51 day relationship.
The Los Angeles Lakers released DENNIS "The Menace" RODMAN last Thursday. The Lakers organization couldn't take the Rod-Man anymore. Read-em and weep. THEY CAN'T COPE. The 51-day marriage is over. The chord is severed.

The Lakers again proved they are a weak organization that lacks strength. Certainly the lack of strength is enough to carry Rodman's baggage. With Rodman's history, was there a secret? When you deal with "The Worm", baggage is a given [Go To Feature Archives: Rodman Returns].

The Lakers continue to PROVE that they are a DYSFUNCTIONAL ORGANIZATION in TURMOIL [Go To Feature Archives: Lakers Time Bomb]. Well…. owner JERRY "Who Loves Ya Baby" BUSS prefers to disagree with the press that the team is in turmoil. Turmoil? No. Buss prefers to call it LOVE. [Go To Feature Archives: Rodman Sacrificed]

OK Jerry have it your way. LOVE it is. The full of LOVE Lakers have separated themselves from a player with proven championship skills and five championship rings because of his irrational behavior. That inability to cope is exactly why the Lakers DON'T HAVE WHAT IT TAKES to be NBA Champions.

The Chicago Bulls won THREE NBA Championships with a MORE OUT OF CONTROL Rodman. Rodman didn't show up for Laker practices. He did that in Chicago. The Bulls coped.

Rodman took R&R in Las Vegas. He did that with Chicago. The Bulls coped.

In LA, Rodman didn't go as far as kicking a photographer in the family jewels. He did in Chicago. The Bulls coped.

In LA, he didn't assault a referee. He did in Chicago. The Bulls coped.

In LA, he didn't wear a dress. He did in Chicago. The Bulls coped.

Rodman avoided talking to the LA press. He preferred to deal with national media organizations. Good move for Rodman. He has the ability to recognize a stream of piranha when he sees it. What's wrong with that?

The LA media campaigned for the Lakers to rid themselves of Rodman during his 23-game tenure. Obviously it was enough to endear the seven-time NBA rebounding champ to communicate with his detractors and embrace them. [Yes, I'm being sarcastic, but you know what I'm say-yin.]

Anyone would love to be alluded to as the WEIRDO and SHE among other choice IGNORANT references [Go To Feature Archives: Rodman Returns]. This is not to say Rodman is without fault. He has plenty of them. The question is…. Does it help to put salt on a wound?

It is far easier to throw stones that it is to build a foundation with them. The LA press did an excellent job of executing that task.

For some reason the LA press come off like cheerleaders of the Lakers, rather than reporting on the team. They take the position of offering suggestions on how the team should be run for their own best interests. LA columnists and beat writers satiate their stories from a FANS perspective while dictating selfish opinions and suggestions in what appears to be their hope the organization will adopt as team policy.

Simply put, the press that cover the Lakers, are more Lakers FANS than reporters. It's as if they have a vested interest in the team. They campaigned to rid the Lakers of the uncommunicative [to them] Rodman. THEY FANNED THE FLAMES. Would you believe the spineless Lakers organization appear to be listening?

What Rodman did in LA he did TENFOLD in Chicago.

ESPN reported Los Angeles Clipper guard SHERMAN DOUGLAS said, "What do they expect? Did he do anything differently than he did before? No. He used to miss practice, he used to irritate people, still does."

The difference is the Chicago Bulls WERE an organization MADE OF MATURE MEN. They had the ability to recognize and see Rodman for who is and DEALT WITH IT. Most important they saw the skills that Rodman brought to the organization. RESULT…THEY WON THREE NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS with him, IRRATIONAL BEHAVIOR AND ALL.

I recall MICHAEL JORDAN commenting after one of Rodman's outbursts that the Bulls had a job to do. He noted the Bulls needed Dennis but were going to win with or without him but they wanted him to return.

When you LACK MATURITY AND INNER STRENGTH, as the Lakers organization does, it's easy to quit and walk away from problems. It takes a man to deal with problems and adversity. That helps to build strength, character, growth and SELF-ESTEEM. In the Chicago Bulls case, they also came away with those THREE NBA CHAMPIONSHIPS and a tremendous amount TEAM PRIDE and strength.

With the Bulls, Rodman had a number of people that he could respect; Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson. All strong secure talented MATURE MEN. Who in the Lakers organization commands that kind of RESPECT? WHO???

It could be argued, Who needs Rodman's distractions? He's not worth it.

ANSWER: If you want to W*I*N you have to work hard at it, taking the good with the bad. Winning Championships doesn't' come in SUGAR-COATED PACKAGES. It takes talent, blood, sweat and tears. Most of all to get to the glory, it takes GUTS.

The Lakers are an organization that is VOID of character. They lack self-esteem. They once again proved they ARE a spineless organization that is FULL OF CHARACTERS with NO GUTS [Go To Feature Archives: Lakers Time Bomb].

The Lakers were 17-6 with Rodman and 8-10 without [through Saturday's 109-93 loss to the Utah Jazz]. As I pointed out in my column Rodman Returns, the Lakers are losers without Rodman.

While with the team, Rodman averaged 11.2 rebounds and 2.1 points a game. This is without the benefit of having a training camp and he hadn't played basketball since the NBA season ended last year.

When Rodman started his anticipated flair up of irrational behavior, Buss high-tailed it out of town to Europe March 17. The 66-year-old playboy left the dirty work of dealing with or decapitating Rodman to VP JERRY "Cry Me A River" WEST and GM Mitch "What's Wrong With This Picture" Kupchak. With his exit, Buss gave the appearance that he couldn't face the problems of handling Rodman and his "BOY TOY" Lakers.

Buss is a personal friend of Rodman's. That's why the Lakers signed him against Jerry West's wishes. As the LA Times put it, they do nights on the town together.

It seems the accumulative $#!t hit the fan when Rodman refused to re-enter a game in a blowout 113-86 loss to Portland last Tuesday. The Times reported that Rodman arrived late to a Lakers practice after the Portland episode. Lakers coach Kurt Rambis had enough and asked "The Worm" to GO HOME.

In one of those CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY HONEY FLAVORED statements, West said of the Rodman release, "At this time we feel it's in the best interests of the Lakers to end the relationship. This obviously didn't work out like we had hoped, but we would like to thank Dennis for the contributions he did make to the team and wish him the best of luck in the future."

WOW!!!! With a statement like that, West must have been reading some children's books where a leopard can change his spots. What were they hoping for, a choirboy Rodman? He'll be 38, May 13. Changes? You expect changes??? Rodman may not be a leopard but his history is full of spots. His spots WILL NOT vanish, EXCEPT for his sometimes leopard spotted hair-do. As they say, you can't teach an old dog new tricks.

What were the Lakers expecting out of their relationship with the spotted Rodman? Are they THAT STUPID. The NFL's San Francisco 49ers executive TERRY DONAHUE once told me, "Choose your words carefully." With that in mind, let's be kind. Were the Lakers THAT ASININE?

Buss returned after Rodman was dismissed. The Times reported that he showed up at a Lakers team photo session before a practice but refused to talk to the media. He left it up to his personal mouthpiece [spokesperson] BOB STEINER.

Steiner is a long time friend of Buss and is the director of public relations for Buss' California Sports. He's also Buss' behind the scenes HIT MAN and a former University of California Sports Information Director.

Speaking on behalf of Buss the Times reported Steiner said of Rodman's release by Lakers management, "They did what they had to do." [WOW…. Well said. Ohhh pleasssseeee, Let's carve that in stone]

In spite of his behavior Rodman's former Laker teammates respected him as a player.

In the aftermath, SHAQUILLE O'NEAL told CNN after Saturday's loss to Utah, "We had a lot of problems but I don't think Dennis was our main problem… plain and simple. The organization knew what they were getting into before they signed him.

"He did his job in the game except those two games where he refused to come back in. Other than that he did his job. He was probably our best ROLE PLAYER on the team."

KOBE BRYANT expressed to ESPN that he wished Rodman were still with the team. "I wanted Dennis to hang around."

The Times reported Bryant as saying, "Yea I would love to have Dennis right now. I think he did a good job with this team as far as preparation, his energy, his effort."

The team is losing and in turmoil, [ooops sorry Jerry B.] L*O*V*E…. The loss to the Jazz Saturday was the teams third consecutive and first since Rodman's departure.

During that game the Times noted that referee JESS KERSEY said to an upset Lakers coach Kurt Rambis, "If your team isn't together, don't blame me."

The trades that were to improve a team that registered a 61-21 record last season haven't worked out. In an attempt to be perfect, the Lakers have destroyed one of the most promising YOUNG TALENTED TEAMS in NBA history.

They have decimated their defensive skills in the process. They traded away an all-pro defensive player in EDDIE JONES and excellent rebounder in ELDON CAMPBELL [Go To Feature Archives: Lakers Bombs Away]. Last but not least, they have now terminated the NBA's BEST rebounder over the past SEVEN years.

After the dismissal of Rodman, Kupchak had this to say to the Times about the slicing and dicing of the team's personnel this season.

"We are trying to put this team in a position to compete for a championship. And sometimes you have to roll the dice."

SAY WHAT???!!!! So far the Lakers have rolled SNAKE EYES.

If the Lakers have done ANYTHING RIGHT in butchering up their own organization, [If you want to call it that] it HAS YET to surface. Rodman told Fox Sports News that he was a scapegoat for the Lakers problems. He said they "Were cowards not to take the fall for some of the things that have happened this year."

The Lakers last remaining thread of winning a championship ring this year is GONE. HE, LIKE ELVIS, HAS LEFT THE BUILDING. They gave Dennis "The Worm" Rodman….THE HOOK.

. . .

MONEY-MONEY-MONEY: Does MICHAEL JORDAN have enough money to buy into the CHARLOTTE HORNETS? You betcha.

Jordan was listed as top sports personality in earnings of celebrities for 1998 according to FORBES MAGAZINE. Forbes, listed Jordan with $69 million earned last year for seventh place on the list. Comedian/actor JERRY SEINFELD topped the list with $276 million.

Other sports personalities listed in the top 50 list include TIGER WOODS $26.8 million for 44th place. GRANT HILL $21.6 million for 48th place. OSCAR DE LA HOYA $18.5 million for 50th place.

Comedian/actor DREW CAREY could have made the list under sports if he became part owner of the new NFL Cleveland Browns franchise. Carey is a Cleveland native and still spends a lot of his time there. Before the NFL made a decision on ownership of the team, I asked Carey last year if he was interested in becoming a NFL owner. At the time Carey had BERNIE KOSAR as a guest on his television show. At that time Kosar was putting a group of investors together to bid for a franchise.

Carey then said, "That's too much money [to buy into a NFL franchise]. I just have a little bit." Forbes had Carey listed 25th on the list with $45.5 million in earnings….

. . .

THREE-PEAT??? Senior golf pro JIM DENT will attempt to become just the fifth player in SENIOR PGA TOUR history to win an event three consecutive years. He will compete in the 20th annual Home Depot Invitational this week, April 19-25 at Piper Glen [North Carolina].

Dent was a late bloomer in the PGA. He didn't turn pro until 1966 at the age of 27. If he can accomplish the three-peat he will join CHI CHI RODRIGUEZ, BOB CHARLES, GEORGE ARCHER, and HALE IRWIN as the only SENIOR PGA TOUR players to do so. The 78-player field will be playing for a $1.2 million purse. The first place check is worth $180,000. The event will be televised on ESPN.

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