SportsBytes #2.12

Rant off the bat...

Remember last week, when I said that I'd take Kevin Garnett as my top choice in an NBA dispersal draft. Yeah, I was wrong. Kobe Bryant is the new, unquestioned top choice in my fictional draft, thanks to the historic run he's on.

He's scored at least 40 points in nine straight games, matching Michael Jordan's career high and putting him behind only Wilt Chamberlain. When you're talking about scoring (the basketball kind, not Wilt's other famous kind), and you're in a three-some (again, figurative) with Wilt and MJ, you're doing something special (no, not that! Get your mind out of the gutter!).

Kobe is making an MVP push and pushing the LA Lakers into the playoff picture at the same time, but that's not what he's playing for. He's playing for his place in history. For the past three years, Kobe has played Scottie Pippen to Shaq's Michael Jordan, and, on a greater scale, he's been Isaiah Thomas to the dream team of T-Mac, Vince Carter, Dirk Nowitzki and the NBA's other high-flying superstars. Sure, Kobe had the rings, but he had Shaq to help him.

Now, with Shaq hurting and Kobe dominating, it's obvious who the biggest star in the league is, and he's playing better than he ever has, and it's enthralling to watch.

Plus, those white Laker jerseys just look so damn good.


• OK, I am insanely sick of Dick Vitale, and I want him to go away. I watched the Duke-Maryland game last week and he just said insane things non-stop. Some specifics focused on him constantly praising Duke, even when they clearly aren't a championship contender this year. He loves Duke and it's obvious and it's sickening.

• Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue came out last week, which means that my favorite issue is coming up soon. That's right: the one with all the letters complaining about the swimsuit edition. Every year, people send in countless letters wondering how SI could ever print such debauchery, even though the magazine does it every year, and has for more than four decades. If the letters weren't so funny, I'd wish SI stopped printing them. But they provide so much amusement, much more than Dick Vitale.

Tiger Tracks

• Oh, last week there was so much promise for Towson's men's lacrosse season, and now it's all gone. The Tigers lost their season opener to unranked Rutgers, putting a big damper on any hopes they have on making the NCAA tournament. Do they miss Kyle Campbell? Maybe, but the bigger problem seems to be the problem that afflicts all Towson teams: turnovers. I hate turnovers and so do most coaches, and they're like a plague on Auburn Drive, one that must be stopped.

eBay Item of the Week

• The 1994 Swimsuit Edition with Kathy Ireland, Elle MacPherson and Rachel Hunter on the cover. March 2, 2003, 2:43 p.m. PST.

Random Prediction

• The Texas Rangers will improve by at least 15 games and possibly push 90 wins. But they still won't make the postseason. Neither will Anaheim. The AL playoff teams will be New York, Chicago, Seattle and Oakland.