PodKast: The schedule, Olympics and mascot heists

At long last, a string of legitimate offseason basketball topics that don't include the words "Dwight" or "Howard!" Huzzah!!! It's enough to make a pair of podcasters giddy with glee. The show can be heard by clicking on the module, and a list of talking points can be found below.

Play Download

- (4:45): After establishing why Brian drinks stray, half-opened bottles of water, we discuss the news that NBA jerseys will soon feature advertising. Neither of us reallly mind -- the league has long passed the point of no return with commercialization, anyway -- but care must be taken to avoid poorly matched teams and products.

- (10:00): Thursday, we offered a quick reaction to the Lakers' newly released schedule. Now we dig deeper, breaking down some roadies and 16 back-to-back sets. All in all, it's a fairly favorable slate. Not many stretches with one powerhouse team after another, and even the Grammy Trip isn't too hairy. Obviously, there will be tough games, because that's just the nature of the NBA, but the schedule-makers certainly didn't act with vengeance towards the purple and gold.

- (19:00): Brian senses palpable hysteria and dread from fans at the prospect of Team USA failing to grab the Gold in London. Frankly, it's a little over the top. Yes, America boasts the rightfully favored squad and it would be anticlimactic seeing them fall short. But this also isn't 1992, when The Dream Team ran roughshod over a bunch of countries well behind the basketball curve. The level of global competition has grown significantly, which means the U.S. is vulnerable for a loss. It's inevitable at some point, and it's not a travesty.

- (26:30): A combination of human drama and kitsch value drives Brian's interest in the Olympics.

- (29:00): Kobe Bryant recently declared as long as he's a Laker, Pau Gasol will also be one. It's the latest example of a relationship that's sometimes complicated and frustrating for both players, but ultimately based in mutual respect and appreciation.

- (32:05): Friday's theft of the "Wally the Green Monster" costume from Fenway is yet another example why the Lakers don't have a mascot.