He calls the shots; at least he's not throwing flares
Posted: Wednesday April 13, 2005 2:28PM; Updated: Wednesday April 13, 2005 5:23PM
Play stops as Inter Milan fans hurtle flares onto the pitch during Champions League.
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Idiot of the Week: Gonna have to be the Inter Milan fans who starting throwing flares onto the field during yesterday's Champions League game against AC Milan after an Inter goal was disallowed. One hit Milan keeper Dida in the shoulder, missing his face by about 6 inches.
While failing to maim the Brazilian, they did succeed in getting the game abandoned, and there certainly will be calls to ban them from European competition for a year or so. (In fact, there was one from an irate Tommy Smyth on ESPN2 right after the game.) A good look at the incident and its backdrop can be found here.
Apparently, three years ago Inter fans tried unsuccessfully to launch a burning scooter from the upper deck. How they got a scooter into the game is something of a mystery to me, as is the thinking behind their decision to immolate it.
Kobe's a GM? What about LeBron?
A few weeks ago Chucky Atkins made a crack about Kobe Bryant being the true GM of the Lakers. There's no denying Bryant has a ton of influence, and purists look at that as further proof that sports are heading straight down the ol' commode. "Why can't these guys just go out and play, like they did in the old days?" they'll lament. "Back then, guys never tried to play front office." Maybe that's true, I don't know. (Perhaps they were too busy going out and bedding 25,000 women to meddle in personnel matters.) But face it: In this day and age, an owner would be remiss if he didn't let a superstar at least think he's calling a good number of the shots.
Look at Cleveland. Without LeBron James the Cavs are a 15-win team, if they're lucky. Zydrunas Ilgauskas would be triple-teamed every time he touched the ball, freeing up Drew Gooden to shoot 53 times a night. They'd draw absolutely no one -- would you pay to see an Ira Newble-Eric Snow backcourt if you weren't also getting to watch the next Jordan?
Dan Gilbert paid $375 million for the Cavs a few months ago. Take LeBron out of the equation and that team is worth barely half that. (According to Forbes, the team was worth $223 million before LeBron showed up.) You're telling me he's not listening to what the kid thinks? I can't believe Gilbert fired Paul Silas without knowing that LeBron would be okay with the move.
If we are to believe the New York papers, LeBron is unhappy with the way things are progressing in Cleveland and if they don't shape up soon, he'll look to engineer a move to, perhaps, the Big Apple -- a move that would force Nike to pay him even more money. (Apparently the swooshers have to pony up more cash if he plays in New York, L.A. or Boston.) Do I believe LeBron is thinking of leaving? No. It's a bit early for that. John Paxson is all but gone as GM when the season is over, and the new guy is going to have to find LeBron some perimeter scoring help.