We rank 'em. You react. That's how the Daily List rolls.
6/01/2007 12:28:00 PM
Non-NBA Destinations for Kobe Bryant
The destination possibilities for Kobe Bryant are endless.
Photo by AP
I'm still not exactly sure what happened with Kobe Bryant earlier this week. We know he did a bunch of media appearances and hinted that he'd like a trade, demanded a trade and said he didn't want a trade. Despite the myriad words and concepts Kobe trotted forth, understand the Lakers aren't trading Kobe anywhere. At least not within the NBA.
But what if the Lakers grew so tired of Kobe's antics that they decided to really punish him? Here are some places the Lakers could move Kobe far, far away from the NBA...
1. Los Angeles Galaxy: Major League Soccer and their deep-pocketed benefactor Phil Anschutz have already shown a willingness to spend cash in order to make splashy international headlines -- hence the forthcoming arrivals of David Beckham and Cuauhtemoc Blanco. As soccerphile and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash once told me, "Some of the NBA shooting guards, up in the air with their height and ability, could control boxes and be really amazing in the midfield." With Kobe in the middle, Becks on the wing and Landon Donovan charging up the field, the Galaxy would finally command attention from the general sporting world. And Kobe's form actually isn't half-bad.
2. The Black Pearl: Speaking of Kobe's puzzling words, I saw the latest Pirates of the Caribbean last weekend and I'm still not sure what was going on. Who was alive? Who was dead? What happened to the guys who were half-skeletons? Plus I still don't know understand that beating heart-in-a-box stuff. I think Capt. Jack Sparrow would be the type of leader Kobe could really respond to, with his meandering speeches and quizzical directions. And the Lakers could use Captain Barbosa to defend Leandro Barbosa.
3. New York Yankees: Lots of fun in the Bronx right now. The fans are booing Joe Torre, the Red Sox are beating everyone they play and, according to the New York Daily News,
A-Rod "likes the she-male, muscular type." (The Post also created my favorite headline of the year: YANKEE DOODLE RANDY.) Basically, there are a lot of highly paid players in pinstripes who could use a leader to step in and take command of things. Kobe, you're on deck.
4. The Republican Party: When your party's hottest Presidential candidate is perhaps best known for emoting opposite Sam Waterston, it would seem to suggest a leadership vacuum. Well, Kobe's a leader, as he's said a few times. And he'd be great in debates, switching sides and double-talking like all politicians do. Could make for an interesting campaign, especially when Kobe's lovely younger wife and Sen. Fred Thompson's lovely younger wife hit the campaign trail together.
5. Los Angeles Sparks: Juwanna Kobe? The WNBA is entering its 11th season, but the League is still largely overlooked. What would happen if a WNBA team suddenly brought in a 6-foot-6 player who could dunk? An undefeated season and massive media attention, that's what. Get him a wig and a razor, now.
Where else could Kobe make an impact away from the NBA? Talk to me, people.
Lang Whitaker is the executive editor of SLAM magazine and writes daily at SLAMonline.com.
Mickey "Gozzlehead" Rivers offered a unique perspective on things.
Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier
By John Rolfe, SI.com
Sports are the traditional factory outlet for great nicknames, from eloquently descriptive to compellingly obscure to downright kooky. There are hundreds to choose from when you try to compile a short list of the most colorful, apt and descriptive, so the exercise is maddening and likely to relieve you of great tufts of hair. No matter which ones you choose, you leave off a big bunch of worthies.
Just for the sake of barroom argument, I'm going to stray off the beaten track a bit here and steer clear of The Splendid Splinter, Sultan of Swat, Iron Horse, Broadway Joe, The Stilt and The Greatest in favor of something a little more zany or edgy. I'll do nicknames of athletes from the past only. Next week, we'll sift among the A-Rods and King Jameses of the present for five more.
Here are my top five:
5. Human Bowling Ball: Charlie Tolar was a 5-foot-5, 210-pound running back for the with the Houston Oilers of the AFL, from 1960 through 1966. The ball rolled for 1.012 yards on a league-leading 244 carries, and you can just see him knocking over tacklers along the way.
4. Gozzlehead: Center fielder Mick "The Quick" Rivers of the Angels, Yankees and Rangers (1970-84) was famous for his say-what quotes ("I want to hit .300, score 100 runs and stay injury prone.") and loopy logic ("Ain't no sense worrying about things you got no control over, 'cause if you got no control over them ain't no sense in worrying. And ain't no sense worrying about things you got control over, 'cause if you got control over them, ain’t no sense worrying.") Thus, his lesser-known nickname -- a term he often bestowed on others -- seems all the more fitting.
3. Mad Stork: Ted Hendricks was a gangly 6-foot-7 defensive end at the University of Miami when he was given this moniker by a teammate whose nickname was Mad Dog. Converted to linebacker after being drafted by the Baltimore Colts in 1969, the fast and furious all-pro had a knack for blocking punts and kicks. He was also known as "Kick 'em in the Head Ted" while playing for the raucous, rebel Oakland Raiders of the early '80s.
2. Cement Head: Few nicknames say "enforcer" quite like this one, which belonged to Dave Semenko, the personal bodyguard for Wayne Gretzky during the 1980s glory days of the Edmonton Oilers dynasty. "Cement Head" conveys just the right degree of simple-minded menace and the ability to take a crushing punch as well as deliver one.
1. His Heinous: Center Bill Laimbeer of the Bad Boy Pistons of the late '80s was not known for his gentility on the court, and his not-so-subtle style was reflected by the terms that were often used to describe him, among them "the prince of darkness" and "ax murderer."
What are your picks? Remember: athletes of the past only.