Schooling Mr. Bryant
Kobe Bryant, the Lower Merion, Pa., phenom who has chosen to bypass college for an NBA career, will probably be a middle-to-late first-round choice in Wednesday's NBA draft (page 58), so his economic future seems secure. Still, we find it admirable that Bryant intends to pursue his undergraduate degree through the Internet. It's true—in cyberspace it is possible to earn credits toward a B.A. from an accredited college and never lay eyes upon a professor. As SMU student Brett Shoulders wrote in a class project, titled "College Degrees Earned Via the Internet" and posted online, "You could take tests in your own bedroom, right out of bed, unshowered, unshaved and clad only in your boxer shorts!" (Like some college students don't go to class looking like that?)
Since young Bryant is busy fielding endorsement offers (he has already signed with Adidas) and probably hasn't had time to fully explore this college thing, we've done some surfing for him and netted a few possibilities. Because La Salle does not offer Internet courses, Bryant can't experience the virtual campus of the Philadelphia school at which his father, Joe, served until recently as an assistant coach and at which Kobe would most likely have matriculated had he not jumped to the NBA. But if he wants to be a major-college player, academically speaking, he can pick from dozens of other schools. In the SEC, Bryant might like Florida, which offers 47 online courses. In the Pac-10, Washington (40 courses) is an option, while his Big Ten choices include Wisconsin (12) and Iowa (four).
Our suggestion to Bryant, though, is this: Stay out of the virtual spotlight and sign on at the least-known school we could find in our Internet search, Front Range Community College of Westminster, Colo. Bryant could choose from Front Range's 23 cyber-courses, such as U.S. history, technical writing and pathophysiology, which sounds like something he might need after a few go-arounds with Michael Jordan and Anfernee Hardaway. He should keep in mind, though, that unless he is taken by the Denver Nuggets in the June 26 draft, he will be considered an out-of-stater and will have to pay $243.75 per credit instead of the $53.50 paid by Colorado residents.
"With the salary he'll be making, the nonresident cost probably won't be a problem," says Dominic Macaya, a Front Range career counselor. Macaya thoughtfully provided his Internet address: FR_Dominic@cccs.cccoes.edu. "E-mail me, Kobe," he says, "and we'll have a dialogue."
Sometime during the 16-day mission that was scheduled to begin on Thursday, the seven-member crew of the space shuttle Columbia plans to re-create Bobby Orr's famous flying-through-the-air goal during the 1970 Stanley Cup finals. The goal helped the Boston Bruins win Game 4 to complete a sweep of the St. Louis Blues. The role of the gravity-defying Orr will be played by astronaut Robert Thirsk, a Calgary native and longtime hockey fan who came up with the idea for the reenactment as a tribute to Orr. Thirsk contacted the Hall of Fame defenseman, who agreed to loan the astronaut his championship ring, which Thirsk will wear during the mission, as well as a blood-stained Orr jersey, which Thirsk will don for the cosmic reenactment.
If all goes well, by the way, the astronauts will complete 256 orbits, as well as the one Orr-bit.
Under pressure from baseball's executive council, Marge Schott has relinquished day-to-day control of the Cincinnati Reds through 1998, and good riddance. Schott, who owns 43% of the Reds, will still inhabit her office at Riverfront Stadium, will still cast her lonely eyes on games from her private skybox and, if her past is any sort of prologue, will still make news with small-minded, divisive statements. But at least Schott won't be empowered to hire or fire employees and won't speak on behalf of the Reds to the public or at league meetings.