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This and that


Each week I will write about the world of sports:

• David Stern has to be happy to see LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA finals. I feel a superstar like James will really help ratings for the Finals. Put it down, LeBron is the best young player that I have ever seen. It is LeBron against the great team play of the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio is so solid fundamentally. By the way, when is Gregg Popovich going to get the recognition he deserves?

• What about Alex Rodriguez and his problems off the field? I have had a solid relationship with ARod and I have been battling and battling for years with friends who said the superstar is not genuine. I have told my pals they are wrong, and I am getting heat from some people now. They said that they told me so! Let's see how this soap opera plays out.

• Could you believe the Carlos Zambrano-Michael Barrett incident in the dugout the other day? The two Cubs also went at it in the locker room, and they looked more like Ali and Frazier than baseball players! They went at it and Zambrano got the better of it. The incident made the Cubs the laughingstock of baseball. Chicago has to start rolling. The fiery leader, Lou Piniella, is currently serving a suspension but when he returns, he will not tolerate mediocrity.

• Barry Bonds is 10 away from Hank Aaron in the home run race, but does anybody really care? Trevor Hoffman of the Padres is closing in on 500 career saves, the first to do that. In my book, he is a lock for the Hall of Fame. That would set the bar high for someone else to break.

• If you have never seen sports lover Kenny Chesney in action on a stage near you, run and see him. This guy is really dazzling, and the Country/Western star draws crowds everywhere. I had the good fortune of seeing him in Tampa recently and there were many sports celebrities backstage that night. I had the privilege of watching Chesney put on a Tampa Bay Bucs helmet on and take snaps in front of the team's coach, Jon Gruden. The country star also took snaps from center Trey Teague, who used to play in college with Peyton Manning. Cowboys tight end Jason Whitten and University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow were also among the celebrities in attendance. Chesney is awesome, baby with a capital A, the best show out there.

• Wow, what a year Magglio Ordonez is putting together. The Tigers catcher leads the AL in slugging pct. (.681), extra base hit (41) as well as hits, RBI and total bases. Let me tell you, he can flat out play.

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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