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Sports Notes - LAKERS KOBE'S TEAM AFTER ROSTER CLEANSING? - October 2004

James Loving - National Radio Text Service - Friday October 8, 2004

 

Lakers Kobe's Team After Roster Cleansing - Chelsea Football Club Signs With William Morris Agency - Walter Payton Honored - Japan's Ichiro Suzuki Breaks MLB's Season Hits Record - Jim Murray Golf Classic & Scholarship Awards - NR Mail

 

LAKER'S KOBE'S TEAM AFTER ROSTER CLEANSING

"Why can't we all just get along," Rodney King pleadingly asked the public after being beaten to a pulp by the LAPD (Los Angeles Police Department) in an incident that preceeded the LA riots in the 90's. The same why can't we get along would apply to the Lakers teams led by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant that produced three consecutive NBA championships.

The squad fell short last season giving up the championship trophy to the Detroit Pistons after posting a 56-26 regular season record.

Batman (O'Neal) and Robin (Bryant) struggled to get along during their eight years together. Being cast as the second fiddle to O'Neal annoyed Bryant. Apparently being cast in the role of Robin wasn't enough. It appears he wants the Superman tag that O'Neal gives himself. Result? The two super talents were separated when O'Neal was traded to the Miami Heat in early August.

Within 48 hours of trading O'Neal the Lakers signed Bryant to a seven year $136 million contract. In exchange the Lakers received three Heat players that are projected to be in the starting lineup with Bryant. Therefore should the Lakers be renamed the Los Angeles Heat?

The most shocking Lakers move was when all-time NBA championship winning coach Phil Jackson's contract was not renewed. It has been reported that Kobe and Jackson did not get along because he didn't design enough offensive plays in his triangle offense for him to be the first option

Jackson is tied at nine NBA championships with former Celtics coach Red Auerbach. He did the impossible by defusing monster egos that resulted in three straight Lakers NBA championships in his first three of his four seasons as coach. The Zen master must have known what he was doing but he and Bryant didn't agree thus Jackson was replaced by former Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

Seven new players have been added to the 12-man roster. They include small forward Lamar Odom power forward Brian Grant and small forward Caron Butler acquired from the Heat in the O'Neal trade. Center Vlade Divac at 36-years-old returns to the team from the Sacramento Kings to replace O'Neal. Point guard Chucky Atkins center Chris Mihm and small forward Jumaine Jones were acquired from the Boston Celtics.

Guard Gary Payton and forward Rick Fox were traded to the Celtics. Guard Derek Fisher opted for free agency and is now with the Golden State Warriors.

The Lakers are now left with a depleted roster. The strange thing about this give me my marbles saga is the Lakers organization made these drastic moves prior to a decision being made on the widely publicized Bryant rape trail in Colorado.

It raises questions why they were so prepared and willing to deplete their roster not knowing what the outcome of Bryant's trial would be. Or…… did they know something the public didn't know?

Despite the trade O'Neal and Bryant continue to bicker through the media. Their wounds and disdain and jealousy towards each other appear to run deep. To say the feuding between the two players and the Lakers organization handling the matter over the years is childlike would be an understatement.

Shaq attacks - NBA NBA photo - Rocky Widner

 

Whatever the case Bryant is their man. They are putting their future and the ball in his hands and O'Neal and Jackson are out of his hair. The Lakers have cleaned house. The question is why didn't they acquire Rodney King and perhaps they all could have gotten along.

DID YOU KNOW?

Kobe Brayant dated recording, TV and motion picture star Brandy during his early years with the Lakers. Prior to that he was introduced to her while he was in high school by his friends the vocal group Boys To Men.

WALTER PAYTON HONORED

In conjunction with the fifth anniversary of the death of former NFL (National Football League) and Chicago Bears great Walter Payton. the Lake County Museum in Wauconda, Illinois opened in his honor "Sweetness: The Walter Payton Story" exhibit.

The NFL Hall of Fame member was the NFL's all-time career rushing leader with 16,726 yards, the league MVP twice and a member of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl team.

He passed away from bile duct cancer. He was only 45 years of age.

ICHIRO SUZUKI BREAKS MLB HITS RECORD

It took 84 years to do it but the Seattle Mariners Ichiro Suzuki did it when he broke George Sisler's all-time hits record of 257 hits with two games left in the season. He finished the season with 262 hits.

To add to his achievements Suzuki hit .372 for the year and won his second AL batting title in his four years in the major leagues.

The astonishing thing is that a Japanese player who is playing what is considered America's sport accomplished these feats.

It brings to mind the mindless radio show that was broadcast in America in 1998 prior to Suzuki entering American major league baseball. It was a sports talk radio show broadcst in Los Angeles, California the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. host.

The shows host was talking to a caller that claimed to be a friend of former Dodgers owner Rupert Murdoch. The caller stated that there were too many Japanese media in the press box. It was enough to make one throw-up.

They were finding chinks in Dodger pitcher Hideo Nomo's amour saying that he intentionally didn't learn to speak English and that annoyed Murdoch. Nomo spoke to the media through an interpreter, as does Suzuki.

As it turned out the call was setup and a hoax.

The fact that any radio or TV show would take so much time to maliciously lie and find fault with someone because of their nationality is senseless. The host considered it a joke. It was exemplary of the height of ignorance and disrespect.

Nomo was later traded and went on to pitch a no-hitter. His talent was always obvious though he did suffer from injury and wasn't as effective as in his early years with the team. He has since returned to the squad.

The same show later blasted the hiring of then St. Louis Rams (NFL) football coach Dick Vermeil. The host was questioning how an 60-YEAR-OLD MAN could coach a young team. It was as if age had something negative to do with talent. It was as if young people don't respect their parents or teachers who are obviously older.

The result was Vermeil led the Rams to a Super Bowl championship.

The bottom line is that Suzuki's accomplishment exemplifies that hard work and talent can accomplish miraculous feats. You don't have to be young and you don't have to American to win in America's so called games. Suzuki and Nomo proved that you could communicate, win, break records and achieve in American sports without speaking English. What's wrong with that?

WORDS OF WISDOM?

Telecasts of the NFL (National Football League) often include placing a microphone on a player to enhance the production. It gives the viewing audience a chance to hear what goes on down on the field of play.

In a recent game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Kansas City Chiefs the Ravens all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis was wired for sound.

After an on field disagreement between the two teams Lewis came to the sidelines and said to a teammate, "Desperate people do desperate things. Confident people believe is their foundation."

JIM MURRAY - ICON OF SPORTS JOURNALISM

Jim Murray was a Pulitzer Prize winner for sports journalism and an icon in the business. The Jim Murray Memorial Foundation carries on his memory.

The Foundation announced that the American Honda Motor Co. commitment to underwrite one of seven JMMF $5,000 journalism scholarships for the next five years.

The Sixth Annual Jim Murray Memorial Golf Classic will begin Monday, October 18, 2004 at the Wilshire Country Club in Los Angeles, California USA. Bobby Rahal the winner of the 1986 Indy 500 will be honored.

NR MAIL

Hi!

I'm the son of Luk Kroo Chom Chary the Olympic national coach of boxing! I was reading some article about our (Cambodia) national soccer team and I think we need fast improvement..

Our national team is weak and not well known. I agree we need to introduce more young talented players in the team (and) get rid of all the old players.

I'm 19 years of age living in South Australia. I play in the South Australian Premier league.

I believe I have the talent speed and skills to be in the national team. How can I contact the coach?

Our national team (isn't) going to go nowhere. I think I'm the one to take them and win matches, it's just that $100 a month is not enough for me. Here in Australia I earn that much in a week lol.

Tihn Chomm

NR

There are several stories about Cambodia football. It sounds as though you read Cambodian Football Rising From The Ashes. There were several that followed.

That story was written four years ago in 2000. Since that time many changes have come about including the departure of the coach.

If $100 a month doesn't suite your fancy then making less or none at all would be less attractive and that is the case now.

The team is not active and is awaiting the Tiger Cup competition in December.

Your e-mail has been forwarded to Tola May of the Cambodian Football Federation.

CHELSEA FOOTBALL CLUB SIGNS WITH WILLIAM MORRIS

London's Chelsea Football Club has signed with the William Morris Agency (WMA). WMA will represent Chelsea FC in such areas as marketing partnerships, entertainment events, programming initiatives and other branding opportunities.

"As we begin our season," said Peter Kenyon, CEO of Chelsea FC, "we look forward to working with the William Morris Agency to help build Chelsea Football Club into one of the premium sports franchises in the world. Partnering with WMA is part of the club's strategy to grow our brand and our business globally."

Founded in 1905 the Chelsea Football Club is one of the most respected and successful football clubs in the world. Under Russian businessman Roman Abramovich's new ownership, the team finished second in the English Premier League last season. Chelsea continued to make strategic moves this year to strengthen the team, spending more than $350 million to acquire new players and hiring one of the best coaches in football, Jose Mourinho, who won the Champions League in May 2004 with FC Porto.

"As one of the most renowned teams in the world's most popular sport, Chelsea Football Club has incredible access to an enormous international audience; and we believe that there is a great opportunity to leverage this further on their behalf," said WMA's Dave Wirtschafter. "With their existing market awareness and our ability to maximize their position, we will enhance an already formidable brand."

Chelsea FC will be joining a roster of WMA corporate clients that includes such industry leaders as Anheuser-Busch, General Motors, the NFL, the United States Olympic Committee, the PGA Tour, Harrah's Entertainment, Saks Fifth Avenue, Texas Instruments and Dennis Publishing, among others. WMA's corporate clients are managed by William Morris Consulting (WMC), the corporate advisory division of WMA. WMC provides Fortune 500 companies, sports leagues and other organizations with strategies to adapt to and succeed in an evolving media, entertainment and sports landscape.

Joining Wirtschafter on William Morris' Chelsea FC team will be John Mass and Philip Button.

Founded in 1898, the William Morris Agency is the leading talent and literary agency in the world, with principal offices in New York, Beverly Hills, Nashville, London and Miami Beach. The Agency represents clients in all segments of the entertainment industry, including Motion Pictures, Television, Music and Personal Appearances, Broadway Theatre and Theatrical Touring, Book Publishing, Commercials, Sports Marketing and Corporate Consulting. (Business Wire)


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