The best part of tonight's national championship game probably won't be the game.
It will happen after the game, after the nets are cut down, when CBS plays its "One Shining Moment" montage. Set against the backdrop of the song, it's always a huge hit for the network and serves as a time capsule of highlights and defining moments.
It is how some of the players will be remembered, forever, but not all of the players.
I know this because I remember Greg Newton.
He played basketball for Duke when I student and I rooted for him from the stands. He was a big-time recruit and a sometimes starter who was suspended from school for cheating. But that's not why I remember him.
I remember Greg Newton because he once said something stupid about Tim Duncan, his rival at Wake Forest.
That Tim Duncan and Greg Newton were ever rivals is hard to imagine now, much like it's hard to image that once upon a time Christian Laettner owned Shaq. But he did. They played against each other twice when they were at Duke and LSU respectively and Laettner dominated Shaq both times.
Actually, to compare Laettner to Greg Newton is probably unfair. Although they both played at Duke in the '90s, the similarities largely end there. Laettner is remembered as one the greatest college basketball players of all time, while Wikipedia remembers that Greg Newton left college just "one away from Duke's top 10 in blocks."
Tim Duncan, meanwhile, went on to earn a much bigger Wikipedia page by becoming the best player in the NBA. He has won more championships and MVP awards than Kobe and LeBron, combined, and he could win another championship this year.
Anyway, back in the '90s, long before Duncan and Newton went their very separate ways, the two did what many of us do every day, whether it's on the golf course, at the water cooler, or on a message board. They talked a little trash.
Greg Newton went first. Big mistake.
When talking trash, it's not advisable to go first, unless you're Simon Cowell or Shaq. It's not fair, really, but Shaq and Simon always win. Just ask Megan Joy or Kobe. Megan lobbed a grenade at Simon last week and memorably went down in flames. As for Shaq, he once asked Kobe, "How my ass taste?" Kobe wisely did not respond.
Newton, for his part, unwisely started his war of words with Tim Duncan by calling him "passive," "soft" and "babyish" and Duncan ended it by saying that "Greg Newton is everybody's All-American."
Chalk up another victory for Mr. Duncan. Everyone knew that Newton didn't have the talent to be an All-American, and he didn't have the passport either. He's Canadian.
So now I think of Greg Newton whenever I think of Tim Duncan, and I think of Tim Duncan a lot. I can't help it. The calendar may say April but March Madness is forever.