Feb. 11, 2004
Dog-show king "Josh":
The irony is I'm not even a dog person. But I started this Westminster thing this week, so I'll finish it ... Bandwagon Newf takes top prize.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Worst. Field. Ever. The Simpsons' Comic Book Guy would have a good time with the laughable field for this year's Slam-Dunk Contest:

Jason Richardson. Ricky Davis. Chris Anderson. Fred Jones. Has there been a more precipitous -- actually, pathetic -- decline in sports than the dunk contest? (Thinking ... thinking ... no, not even hockey.)

When did this once-proud franchise "dunk over the shark?" Was it the ridiculous choreographed routines of a few years ago? The gaping void since Vince?

But wait: What's this? Rumors bubbling that a certain rookie with the religious-themed TV ads might participate? There's only one player who could be the savior of this year's contest:

LeBron has got to have next.

Sixers Boot Ayers
Next logical move: Trade AI. (Why do people seem so shy to embrace this?) I leave it to Insiders like Chad Ford to break down the contract realities, but how quickly would Philly fans do a 180 and embrace a hometown hero with all of AI's scoring ability, plus more versatility: Kobe. (Meanwhile, AI in LA? Forget about it. Sick.)

As for Randy Ayers: Raise your hand if you really thought he was going to work out. (Be honest.) Buzz-free from the beginning, the mediocre team record was just a reflection of the coach.

Stop St. Joe's!
"Foes of Joe's": That's the name of the inevitable backlash group developing an allergic reaction to the feverish bandwagon surrounding unbeaten No. 3 Saint Joseph's.

1 What next, 76ers? You can bet AI is going to have a say
2 What next, LeBron? Will you end up in the dunk contest?
3 What next, U.S. Soccer? NOW will you suit up Freddy Adu?
1 Rick Majerus' return: Says he won't come back to Utah
2 Kevin Millwood arbitration: Avoids with 1yr/$11mil deal
3 Wesley Clark: Once-touted General out of Dem primaries
Tonight is perhaps the last chance fans will have to see St. Joe's perfect season come to an end, when the Hawks play dangerous Dayton.

Frank Still Perfect
With all the turnover in the Eastern Conference, maybe the All-Star coaching job should go to the coach (not the team) with the best record. Because who else thinks "Li'l Lawrence" Frank -- now 8-0 with the Nets after beating Detroit -- deserves the A-S helm?

NASCAR Gambling Issue
Crazy item in this morning's USA Today about NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, who said he'd be willing to bet on himself in a Vegas sports book to win the Daytona 500.

That's not the problem: The real issue is that NASCAR apparently has no rules against their drivers or crews gambling

on the sport. If the sport takes itself seriously, expect that to change by, oh, Sunday.

New Lifelines
"Super Millionaire" will have two new lifelines:

"Three Wise Men": Think a brainy Hollywood Squares.

"Double Dip": Two shots at answering a question.

All that, and a lot more money, for new primetime season.

U.S. men's soccer
Olympics KO via 4-0 thumping from Mexico. Once-promising team reeling. Time to focus fully on Freddy Adu's development. U.S. goes where he goes.
Today on ESPN.com
P2: Hottest ... Female ... Athlete
Fantasy Baseball: Sign Up Now!
IN: NFL offseason scouting reports
Best Dunk-Contest Dunkers:
Spud Webb
5-6? 5-6?! Ridiculous
Michael Jordan
Ah, back when it meant something ...
Vince Carter
Did things no one had ever seen
Dominique Wilkins
But "power" dunkers overrated
Isaiah Rider
Called it at his rookie draft!

Biggest under-the-radar baseball story: Grand jury subpoenas MLB drug-test results from last season. Oh, *huge* trouble for some ...

"Miracle" puck up for sale ($95K), but if I had to buy something, I'd still rather have the Bartman foul ball ...

Now the Bucs join the ever-growing suitors for Mark Brunell; that'll make Brad Johnson happy ...

More QB-watching: Drew Henson works out for teams on Thursday ...

Here's hoping Judge Shira Scheindlin rejects the NFL's request for a stay on her draft decision from last week, until they have a better rationale for her to do it ...

New Showtime pilot in development: "Make Me Cool," kind of like "Queer Eye" but with African-Americans giving the advice ...

Sponsored Links