Happy Tuesday everyone, here's my Top 5 for February 19, 2013 from Len Berman at www.ThatsSports.com.
1. Quick Hits
- Lakers Hall of Fame owner Jerry Buss is dead of cancer at the age of 80.
- The Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorious, is officially charged with premeditated murder in South Africa.
- Instant replay. Goal-line technology will be used for the first time in World Cup soccer in 2014.
2. Jerry Buss
They don't call many sports owners "doctor," but he was always "Dr. Buss" thanks to his Ph.D. in chemistry. His Ph.D. should have been in sports ownership. He bought the Lakers in 1979 and won the title in 1980. Along the way he won an astounding 10 titles and appeared in six other NBA Finals. So his team made the finals basically half the years he owned it. And he molded the perfect franchise for Hollywood. One-named stars like Kareem, Magic, Shaq and Kobe with stars galore in the stands. He bought the Lakers for $67.5 million with the Kings and the Forum thrown in. The Lakers are now valued at $1 billion. What an apt epitaph for Buss and his Lakers: Showtime.
3. Hot Air
I'm glad Michael Jordan only turns 50 once. How much air time and written space was wasted arguing who is better, Jordan or LeBron James? Then Kobe Bryant's name was thrown into the mix. Soon the names were flying from Larry Bird to Magic Johnson. Then Bill Russell. I always think that Wilt Chamberlain gets short-changed. Then there are the often overlooked greats like Oscar Robertson and Elgin Baylor. The truth is it's a silly argument but it does help recall some of the greats who have played the game. Now about Dr. J. and Pete Maravich...
You can draw your own conclusions about what Mike Piazza did or didn't do in his career, but you have to question one passage in his book. He claims that Dodgers announcer Vin Scully turned Dodgers fans against him and led to his trade away from Los Angeles. All I can say is no way. Scully has made a career of only talking about what's between the lines. He never, ever discusses contracts or other controversial issues. You can question why Piazza never took a swing at Roger Clemens, but when it comes to the great Vin Scully, Piazza swung and missed... big time.
5. Thanks Coach
Now for a rare feel-good story. Brandon University is a small college in western Canada. As a halftime gimmick at basketball games, a fan can shoot from half court for a free semester of tuition. There's an added wrinkle. The fan can choose someone to shoot for him. The other day, Mason Kaluzniak chose the basketball coach Gil Cheung to do the honors. And you can guess the rest. In case you wanted some numbers: The cost of tuition at Brandon is in the vicinity of $3,000 a semester. The attendance at the game that night was 413.
Happy Birthday: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. 54.
Bonus Birthday: Singer Seal. 50.
Today in Sports: A touching memory. U.S. hockey team players trash their rooms at the Nagano Olympics. 1998.
Bonus Event: Thomas Edison invented a contraption that would play music, the phonograph. 1878.
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