Feb. 12, 2004
9-0 Nets coach
Lawrence Frank:

"Li'l Larry" is unstoppable, tying the record for best start ever by a rookie coach. Is it *really* too late to make him East All-Star coach?
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

The Lakers have reportedly ended negotiations with Phil Jackson about a contract extension for his deal expiring at the end of this season, making today's best debate:

Between P-Jax and Joe Torre, which head honcho is more likely to still be with his team by the MLB All-Star Game on July 13?

Answer: How 'bout neither?

*Jackson will leave after the Lakers fail to win the West and Kobe bolts as a free agent.

*Torre will get the boot after the Yankees start slow and the Boss gets an itchy trigger finger.

Have your say:
Vote in today's poll

Yao Tops Shaq
Goodbye, "Charmin Yao"; hello, "Ming the Merciless."

Don't want to hear any more critiques of Yao being not tough enough. He outplayed Shaq last night, and now the anti-Yao argument is what looks soft.

Just look at the numbers:
     Shaq   Yao
Pts   24     29
FG   5/12  10/21
Reb    9     11
Res    L      W
St. Joe's/John's
Vive le difference!

Saint Joseph's greatest season ever stays on track after the Hawks crushed Dayton, its nearest A10 competitor. Six games to go for a perfect regular season, and none of 'em look all that rough.

St. John's worst season ever got an injection of sanity yesterday when the school president said suspending the program is an option. Doing it this season is pointless; it's next season that should be yanked.

1 Yao's bandwagon: Doubters quiet after he outplays Shaq
2 BALCO's bandwagon: (Not.) Indictment impact still hazy
3 Henson's bandwagon: NFL scouts look at QB prospect today
1 LeBron in NBA slam-dunk contest: He says, "I'm out!"
2 Ford's Philly hot seat: (For now.) Wins 76ers opener
3 Pat Ramsey's career: Unless Skins don't acquire Brunell
Big Ten or Big TiVo?
Call it the "Big TiVo" Conference: The best part of the Big Ten's instant-replay experiment this fall (OK'd by NCAA rules committee; still needs final approval) is that coaches will have no say.

A purportedly omniscient designated observer will decide what to review. One question: How do I apply for this job? It's like playing Football God.

BALCO Indictments
Frankly, fans don't care about the impending BALCO indictments ... until we hear some player names.

That's where it gets interesting: Not implying any guilt, but wait until BALCO execs dangle the goods on players whose training methods are, say, suspicious.

Barnett in Trouble
(Conflict of interest disclosure: Gary Barnett gave me the best sports times of my life -- Northwestern's Rose Bowl season in 1995.)

That said: Denials that he knew anything about Colorado's unconventional (and seemingly systemic) recruiting lap dances methods leaves him vulnerable to that old scandal stand-by: "lack of institutional control."

Upshot: Can't see this ending well for him.

Brunell Watch
Redskins incumbent QB Patrick Ramsey met with Joe Gibbs to talk about ... well, Mark Brunell, presumably ... and Ramsey said, "I think we came to an understanding." Assume that Ramsey "understands" if the Redskins acquire Brunell, last year's starter is this year's clipboard-holder. "Understanding" seems like "understatement."

Slam-Dunk Contest fans:
"I'm out! I'm out! I'm out!" With that, LeBron quashes rumors he might be a late add to the dunk contest. Aha: Make him a judge!
Today on ESPN.com
P2: Hottest Female Athlete finals
Daytona 500 coverage
CBB: Power 16
What to watch for
at the NBA
All-Star Game
Halftime show. 'Nuff said
Special-edition shoes
NBA's version of Fashion Week
Where's LeBron?
Try the Rookie Game ...
Peja new Larry?
Goes for 3-pt 3-peat
Celeb sightings
After all, it IS in L.A.

Very special all-NFL edition:

Judge nixes NFL request to stay her decision to let anyone into the draft; next: Appeals denial. League should just stop asking ...

When Mo Clarett has a productive rookie season next year, how many critics/doubters will owe him an apology? ...

Almost as much scrutiny as candidates on "The Apprentice": Drew Henson works out for possible suitors today; GMs, take a chance! ...

Doug Williams might be returning to Tampa Bay as a personnel exec, but will he ever sport his own blazing-orange Bucs retro jersey? ...

FCC chair testified Super Bowl halftime was "a new low for primetime television"; yikes: wait 'til he sees "The Littlest Groom" ...

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