Kobe says he made teammates cry during practice
For all the recent discussion about LeBron James being authoritarian, he is soothing compared to Kobe Bryant in treatment of teammates. The LA Lakers guard is so verbally abusive in practice that some players, who so far are unnamed, have been reduced to tears. Bryant told ESPN that “there are certain players I’ve made cry. . . . If I can make you cry by being sarcastic, then I really don’t want to play with you in the playoffs.”
Between the Lines: Larry Nance Jr., a first-round draft pick by the Lakers, can expect the worst. In 2012 he tweeted about Bryant being a “rapist.” Bryant insists it’s “water under the bridge,” as charges were dropped. But bridges will be inspected.
Click here for Des Bieler’s article in The Washington Post about Bryant forgiving “Larry Nance Jr.’s ‘rapist’ tweet.’
Pippen says LeBron is more like him than he is like Mike
Scottie Pippen, former small forward of the Chicago Bulls, compares himself to LeBron James. “I was LeBron James before LeBron James,” he said. “They want to compare him to the greatest, whether it be Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, but he’s closer to myself. If you look at how he plays the game and how I played the game, you’ll see more similarities with us.”
Reality check: Pippen could shoot, pass, rebound and defend but could do none of those things as well as James.
Maddon wants ‘nerds’ to review replays instead of umps
With two out in the ninth inning and his team down by three runs, Chris Denorfia of the Chicago Cubs tried to stretch a single into a double. He was ruled out on a close play at second base, although Cubs manager John Maddon was sure his feet touched the bag before he was tagged in the chest by the Dodgers’ Kike Hernandez.
After reviewing replays, umpires insisted there was no “conclusive evidence” to overturn the call. “It just screams for an independent group to research the video,” Maddon said. “As opposed to working umpires who are on the field. I think you should get a bunch of nerds back there who know how to look at a videotape and then come to a conclusion.” Denorfia himself was not sure he was safe. “I thought it was too close to overturn,” he said. “It was not smart baseball on my part.” The play was significant because the Cubs had two sluggers due up, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant.
Between the Lines: Maddon believes umpires are reluctant to find fault with each other, which is why he favors independent “nerds” to review the calls.
Costas regrets pointing a finger at a pointed finger
MLB Network analyst Bob Costas said he was “too harsh” in his on-air comments ridiculing Chicago Cubs pitcher Pedro Strop for pointing to the sky to ask “some departed relative for forgiveness for this atrocious performance.” Strop had given up a home run, a hit batsman and a walk among the four St. Louis batters he faced. When he was pulled from the game he pointed skyward. “The tone of it was not what I intended,” Costas told the New York Daily News. Strop graciously accepted an apology from Costas. “We all do stuff that we have apologize for,” he said. Costas insisted he was trying to make the point that athletes should accept more responsibility for what they do. “I intended it as a sort of sarcastic comment about this overall thing where everybody seems to be pointing toward the heavens for every accomplishment.”
Behind the Lines: Costas is saying, “Don’t blame your incompetence on God.”
NBA’s Luke Ridnour traded three times in one day
Luke Ridnour may be the ultimate journeyman. The 34-year-old guard was a member of four NBA teams in one day. Last Wednesday he was swapped from Orlando to Memphis to Charlotte to Oklahoma City. Within a week, he was on a fifth team, Toronto. Actually, this sort of hectic movement is not unprecedented. A four-team carousel picked up Alonzo Gee last offseason and Quentin Richardson in 2009. Ridnour formerly played for Seattle, Minnesota and Milwaukee, as well as Charlotte once before.
Cutler wants to play for Jim Harbaugh
When Michigan Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh conducted a recent high-school football camp at Ann Arbor, he had Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler working with him. Cutler was impressed. “I like him,” he said. “First time I’ve ever been around him. . . . He’s got his cleats on out there. He’s a guy I’d like to play for.” Of course, that can’t happen unless Harbaugh, former head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, returns to pro football, which many reporters think will happen eventually. Whether Harbaugh would want to coach Cutler may be a bigger question. Cutler is known as a coach killer –- blamed for Lovie Smith and then Marc Trestman being fired by the Bears. The new Bears coach, John Fox, did not have a promising beginning with Cutler, as he said he was looking forward to working with “Jake.”