Kobe's got a lot of nerve
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

What do you think Mark Cuban's saying now? You can almost see him sitting in his mansion, wearing his Mavs jersey, watching the 12-foot big screen and pumping his fist in the air.

Not only is Kobe awaiting trial, but now he and Shaq are lobbing spitwads at each other over the lockers like ninth-graders. Hey, more good news for the NBA. Cuban was right: Who isn't going to watch now?

Mike Tyson
Mike Tyson's got Kobe's back -- but will he against Shaq?
It's all proof that these guys live in an alternate universe. The latest: Kobe ascending the moral Everest. Oh, my, those are some treacherous steps. Neither Shaq nor Kobe is going to win the Service to Others Award at summer camp anytime soon, but Kobe's lash-out in light of the current situation is a little hard to stomach.

It's just too rich: Kobe, who showed up at the Teen Choice Awards quoting Martin Luther King weeks after being charged with raping a 19-year-old, delivering a lecture on handling situations "gracefully"?

And the text of his message was a parody of a spoiled child. 'Member when I played hurt? 'Member when my tooth hurt? 'Member when I had that owie on my foot? 'Member when I had to leave training camp twice to appear before a judge in Colora ... oh, forget about that part. It's not important.

But you know the story behind the story. You know what Shaq knows, don't you? Of course you do. Shaq knows, for the first time, that he's part of a team that can win without Kobe. And with Kobe facing what everybody ruefully terms "the biggest challenge of his career"?

For Shaq, that's one big opportunity rapping its knuckles on the front door. Open up, big boy, I got Karl Malone and Gary Payton out here with me. If you let us in, you can say anything you want. Blow that feud clear across the room, big fella.

This Week's List

  • The only certainty on the day of the NBA season opener is this: The Marlins -- meaning the NBA's equivalent of baseball's Marlins -- don't have a chance in hell of winning the title.

  • Three teams that would qualify as "Marlins' equivalent" and thus have no chance: Bucks, Sonics, Heat.

  • So, as the scattered mind wonders: What lesson can we learn from the fact that a salary-capped, revenue-sharing league has far less parity than the allegedly-unbalanced, top-heavy boys in big-league baseball?

  • Well, then, weren't these the same guys who said LeBron was the hands-down, no-doubt No. 1 player in this year's draft: All the experts seem to believe Carmelo Anthony is the hands-down, no-doubt pick for Rookie of the Year.

  • If LeBron's first Nike commercial is any indication: We should all expect Bron-Bron to be called for a few 24-second violations.

  • Maybe now's the time for all of us to move to Canada: Jeff George's name is cropping up again in NFL circles, this time in connection with the Broncos.

  • If I were a smart businessman: I'd be running off a million "BODY BY BALCO" T-shirts right now.

  • Literary evisceration may not be your thing, but just in case: Check out the first sentence of this book review.

  • One thing that was universally ignored by those who chastised Jack McKeon for pitching Josh Beckett on three days' rest: For the past four or five months, this has been Jack's world, and the rest of us should feel privileged to share it.

  • Watching the World Series as inning after inning was picked up with the first pitch on its way to the plate got me thinking: Whatever happened to "The Tick"?

  • OK, all ye wise NFL owners: Whaddaya think of Marvin Lewis now?

  • Destined to be known around these parts affectionately as "The Peter McNeeley of Kicking:" Owen Pochman, author of perhaps the worst 60 minutes of kickin' in NFL history.

  • And finally, a typical understated view of the aftermath of the Yankee loss: Get rid of Giambi, trade Soriano and Nick Johnson, dangle David Wells overboard while using Jeff Weaver as chum, beg Roger Clemens to stay, move Derek Jeter to third, sign Gary Sheffield, Vlad Guerrero and Greg Maddux, shrink Hideki Matsui's head, and fire Joe Torre and replace him with Joe Torre, just so he doesn't get too comfortable.

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.





  • THE LIST

    ALSO SEE:


    Tim Keown Archive

    Keown: Little hope

    Keown: The Myth of Zim

    Keown: Boston public

    Keown: Still cursed

    Keown: Hero Herm

    Keown: Liar liar

    Keown: Officially bad

    Keown: NFL Season's dreams

    Keown: New Number won

    Keown: Preseason profiting

    Keown: From baseball to Clarett





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