Page 2 Power Rankings: Kobe edition
Welcome back to another edition of Page 2's weekly Power Rankings, in which the confusion of a world where both Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant are ultimate leaders -- can't there be only one? -- is replaced by the clarity of making a list.
Once again, we determine the rankings with the following criteria:
Ubiquity: How omnipresent is the person or thing in question?
Intrigue: Is something or someone interesting? Can the story capture us?
Amusement: Is the item fun and/or funny? In modern American life, if something didn't entertain, it didn't really happen.
Absurdity: We don't have a soft spot for the ridiculous -- it's more like a giant, red bull's-eye.
Note: Final rankings are completely arbitrary and NOT dependent on individual scores. And yes, we're just that unfair.
Why so serious?
Credentials: You know the big, bad space monsters from the "Alien" movies? And how they have big, bad mouthfuls of teeth? And how behind those teeth is a second, smaller, pop-out mouth, equipped with a bunch of gritting mini-teeth? Exactly.
Receiving '09 Finals MVP trophy from '08 MVP Kevin McHale
Credentials: Expiring contract, general inability to play basketball allowed Los Angeles to acquire missing piece Pau Gasol in salary-dump trade with Memphis, making Brown at least as responsible for L.A.'s title as Kevin Garnett's achy knee. Dear Lakers fans: When you're done setting small trees ablaze, give The Kwame thanks.
Not a Jedi yet
Credentials: Low-post oeuvre of dunks, running shot-put half-hooks, dunks, beating Zydrunas Ilgauskas off the dribble, dunks and more dunks would be totally unstoppable ... in a game of "NBA Jam." In the Finals? Not so much.
@restofworld: pay attention to me yo argggggh!
Credentials: The Big Twit slips a subtle shot at Orlando's Stan Van Gundy into a message for Phil Jackson -- "when the general doesn't panic the troops don't panic" -- and pretends to be magnanimous by turning last summer's freestyle slam of Bryant back on himself: "I know what yur sayin rt now 'Shaq how my [expletive] taste.'" Why use the culturally relevant Web site du jour in the first place? Probably for the same reason Karl Malone and Gary Payton joined Shaq's Lakers in 2003.
aflajflkjaljsalkf ... wait, you're actually paying attention to the words?
Credentials: Tells a magazine that comparisons to fellow uber-hottie Angelina Jolie show "a lack of creativity on the media's part." (Fine: We take back the "uber.") On the matter of artistic creativity vis-à-vis starring in the sequel to an FX-laden summer brain brownout involving 30-foot-tall extraterrestrial robots that throttle each other for the advertorial good of the domestic auto industry, however, Fox remains curiously silent.
Credentials: New York Jets dreamboat Mark Sanchez scores $28 million in guaranteed loot, not a dime of it from Abercrombie modeling; bionic-armed baseball No. 1 draft pick Stephen Strasburg is reportedly angling for a $50 million deal; Spanish soccer power Real Madrid shells out $223 million in transfer fees -- in essence, a cover charge -- to acquire Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo; major banks reportedly are repaying U.S. government to avoid executive-compensation limits. Still unemployed? Not to worry. The ultrarich are doing just fine.
Credentials: Can't-beat-'em-join-'em winger who bolted Pittsburgh for Detroit last summer fails to score goal in finals, watches former teammates hoist Stanley Cup. In the immortal words of Nelson from "The Simpsons": ha ha.
One step ahead of the incoming paint roller
Credentials: Bad endings Floyd didn't see coming: (A) the O.J. Mayo just-showing-up-on-the-doorstep thing; (B) Donald Trump canning "Today" show-monopolizing Miss California; (C) T.O. and the Cowboys; (D) Britney Spears and Kevin Federline; (E) the last half-hour of "Titanic."
They will possess you, unless you change that number on your dial
Credentials: Suspended slugger Manny Ramirez does something stupid (breaking MLB rules by visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers clubhouse). A-Rod book remains in the news (for selling a paltry 16,000 copies). Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly seen leaving Paris Hilton's house (is it 2006?). Spencer and Heidi from "The Hills" infect another reality show (when will the World Health Organization declare them a pandemic?). Thank goodness Brett Favre is done dithering over playing professional football ... oops.
No matter who wins, buzz for Conan O'Brien loses
Credentials: Former VP candidate engages in petty tête-à-tête with late-night host -- stateswoman rule No. 1: Stern words are for foreign adversaries, not comedians -- over sexual gag about her daughter and A-Rod, issuing testy statement lambasting "Hollywood/NY entertainers" for not understanding "what the rest of America understands." Rest of America only really worries about why celebrity homes in Hollywood and New York won't show up on Google Maps.
Taking a stand while sitting on a couch eating chips
Credentials: Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Ochocinco admits his face tattoos are fake. NCAA pretends its punishment of Alabama football -- vacate past victories, keep current scholarships -- is real. The Atlanta Falcons hope recently released Michael Vick does just super-duper in his future endeavors, provided said endeavors do not involve playing against the Falcons and/or returning to court to fight over Arthur Blank's money. Meanwhile, Arizona Cardinals ball cap model Matt Leinart reportedly is training in mixed martial arts with a Fox reporter, the better to ... um ... hold on ... we're thinking ... recover fumbled snaps from the bottom of the pile?
His stool could be yours!
Credentials: Thirty-seven-year-old Philadelphia Phillies outfielder gets indignantly grumpy -- or grumpily indignant, take your pick -- over blogger's suggestion that his career-best hitting statistics could be aided by performance-enhancing drug use, offering his "urine, hair, blood and stool" to anyone who wants to test him. Or just make a few bucks on eBay.
Do the darndest things
Credentials: Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose blames gang-sign photo on being "young and naive," yet fails to mention Cousin Yuri; responding to reports that 24 Florida football players have been arrested since 2005, coach/Taoist philosopher Urban Meyer releases a statement claiming his law-challenged athletes are "like most young people, trying to find their way" -- possibly to a holding cell; a Washington state Little League coach is charged with burglary after allegedly having his players crawl through a vent and unlock the door to a shop. Silly kids -- don't they know vent-crawling is for Jason Grimsley?
The "Saved by the Bell Reunion" is almost on
Credentials: Jimmy Fallon's quest to reunite the original cast goes from quixotic to plausible after Mark-Paul Gosselaar conducts late-night interview in full Zack Morris mode. Over/under on dollars needed to secure holdout Dustin Diamond's commitment? Forty-eight.
If you can make it here, you'll make it anywhere ...
Credentials: Dropped pop fly spawns a Yankees win, temporarily removes the late-inning goat tag from A-Rod and, to top it all off, fuels a reliever vs. reliever feud. Someone send Luis a "What Would Tom Emanski Do?" bracelet, ASAP.
Fought the door and the door won
Credentials: West Virginia basketball coach Huggins claims his two black eyes are the result of walking into a bathroom door. Which is about as likely as being hit in the head by a meteorite.
Iran, North Korea just distractions
Credentials: First the birds nearly take out US Airways Flight 1459; then they cost the Kansas City Royals a game when an outfield seagull interferes with Coco Crisp as he tries to field a line drive, allowing a Cleveland Indians runner to score the winning run from second base. How long will this unchecked avian aggression be allowed to stand? Is golfer Ahn Shi-hyun the only person with any sense? Wake up, America!
Also receiving votes: The Outlaw Ryan Leaf, still busting after all these years; the Boston Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, which is more one-sided than the editorial slant of the National Review Online; Tennessee football coach Lane Kiffin, whose only real violation is taking camera time away from his wife; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady rescued from the Charles River after flipping a kayak; Phil Jackson's throwback "X" hat, a touching tribute to Spike Lee's landmark biopic; Bryant's ongoing inability to win a title without Derek Fisher; Stephen Colbert's hair clippings not being packaged into sacred relics; the secret sect of ninja assassins -- and really, are there any other kind? -- that lawyer Mark Geragos suggests may have killed David Carradine.
Never receiving votes: The Orlando Magic's collective effort -- a term we use loosely -- in the second half of Game 4, which appeared to be coordinated by former FEMA director Mike Brown; Mickael Pietrus' two-fisted shove to Pau Gasol's back, which isn't going to do a whole lot for France's international reputation as a bastion of courageous fortitude; the Constitution's failure to prohibit Michael Phelps' mustache; swashbuckling way Sanchez is throwing the ball in ... Jets minicamp.
Patrick Hruby is a columnist for Page 2.