February 2, 2006
Epiphanny Prince:
Kobe's 81? Bah! High school senior scores 113 points in a win last night, breaking the national record for HS girls, set by Cheryl Miller.
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:

Is the top-story attention paid to Donovan McNabb's tell-all interview with ESPN a sign of fans' continuing interest in the Eagles-T.O.-McNabb soap opera that began at last year's Super Bowl? Or is it a sign of the limited interest in this year's Super Bowl?

On to McNabb's interview:

"Black-on-black crime": The most explosive phrase of the interview came during McNabb's analysis of T.O.'s comment that the Eagles would be better off with Favre than McNabb.

On one hand, it viscerally shows McNabb's frustration with Owens; rhetorically, McNabb threw a bomb. McNabb is clarifying, once and for all, that race has everything to do with his tension with T.O.

On the other hand, it's way too cavalier to compare an idiot teammate trashing another as "black-on-black crime." It diminishes real-world violence normally associated with the phrase.

Michael Irvin originally asked Owens about a Favre-or-McNabb scenario to be controversial. Owens undoubtedly agreed with it to live up to his own controversial rep. I wonder if Irvin had said Vick or Leftwich, whether Owens would have agreed with that, too.

I suspect that the loathing between T.O. and McNabb transcends race.

But McNabb emphasized the point using that phrase "black-on-black crime." Presumably, it accurately expressed his pent-up frustration, but he wasn't particularly elegant about it. In this case, McNabb is as guilty of rhetorical hyperbole as T.O. was when he agreed with Irvin.

Fans and media will probably give McNabb some slack for saying it, but if T.O. used the same phrase, he'd likely be obliterated by fans and media.

But everyone can agree that McNabb has earned the right to vent, after suffering in relative silence as T.O. ran roughshod over his reputation over the past few months.

We'll find out throughout the day whether fans are listening to his larger message or are getting caught up in the graphic way he delivered it.

XL: Trash Talk!
Apparently there was some media day trash talk. Seahawks TE Jerramy Stevens said of Jerome Bettis, "It's a heartwarming story and all that, but it will be a sad day when he leaves without that trophy."

I've always thought that you'd have to be a pretty mediocre athlete to get too fired up by something someone else says, but I'm not about to keep Joey Porter from ranting. The money quote:

"I've been asleep all week, but now I got woke up. I've got my first taste of blood and now I'm thirsty for more. Until now, it was 'Watch what I say,' 'I can't say this,' 'I can't say that,' 'Don't do anything silly,' but I'm ready now.

"You look for the guys that say something that aren't supposed to say nothing, and I feel like he definitely was out of pocket to say what he said. I'm going to make sure he owns up to those words."

First taste of blood?
Thirsty for more?

How fast can we get to Sunday?

LeBron: 7th career triple-dub leads Cavs to 7th straight W
Peja Stojakovic: 26 pts, 13 reb in home debut W for Pacers
Mike Martz: As expected, set to join Lions as OF Coordinator
T.O. to D.C.: Redskins deny Chiefs-style interest in Owens
Charlotte Bobcats: Set team record with 13th straight loss
Tim Hudson: Braves SP drops out of World Baseball Classic
Duke d. B.C.
Duke-haters have long claimed that the Blue Devils enjoy an advantage with the refs. I believe the exact quote is: "Cripes, they get all the calls!!!"

Duke apologists scoff at the claim, but it's harder than ever to dispute it after last night's farce at Boston College, where Duke shot 37 free throws to BC's 13. 37-13!

And B.C. was the home team!

That Duke won by 2 points shouldn't fool anyone. With even a smidgen of better reffing, BC would have won the game. But why should anyone think that Duke will ever stop getting the calls?

CFB Signing Day
All that texting paid off: Urban Meyer's Florida Gators ended signing day with the No. 1-rated class (despite a few defections, which have become an annual tradition in recruiting).

Not unexpectedly, the rich got richer: Perennial recruiting powers USC and Texas round out the top 3. Recruiting means college football will never see parity:

It's an income gap that makes the U.S. class divide between rich and poor seem reasonable -- and makes breakout teams' success that much more impressive. They have to overcome their own legacies and a long-standing recruiting disadvantage.

Meanwhile, it was refreshing to see so many top-notch recruits ignore Joe Paterno's age and restore Penn State's luster as an East Coast recruiting powerhouse. JoePa finished the day with the No. 10-ranked class.

NBA: Hornets Buzz
The Pistons are winning? Kobe is scoring? Are either of those really such a surprise?

No, the surprise of the year in the NBA is that the Hornets are over .500 (23-22) more than halfway through the season, following last night's win over the Bulls. For comparison, after 45 games last season, they were 8-37.

You could attribute the stunning 15-game turnaround to runaway Rookie of the Year Chris Paul (25 pts, 13 ast last night), but I'm going back to the Oklahoma City Factor.

They won their home opener in front of a frenzied OK City crowd and haven't looked back. They aren't exactly the '86 Celtics, but they are 6th in the West in home record. Last season, they were the worst home team in the West by 7 games.

New Bode Controversy
If you want to be an Olympic uber-star, scrutiny comes with the package.

The latest Bode Miller story (and they seem to be happening weekly now) is that he and a couple of U.S. Ski teammates went to a shady doc in Mexico for alternative meds.

The athletes swear by him, but an Olympian who goes off the grid for injections is a gold-medal fool.

NBA All-Stars
Starters announced tonight: Don't expect any surprises. (For example, say Chris Paul getting the nod.)

Kobe Bryant will be a starter for the West, but it's unlikely he passed Yao Ming for leading vote-getter before the Jan. 22 deadline (if he'd had another week, post-81, I think Kobe would have pulled it off).

The rest of the West starters should include Yao, Tracy McGrady, Steve Nash and Tim Duncan (with Kevin Garnett on the outside looking in, edged out by Duncan). You could have predicted this group three months ago.

In the East, it should be Shaq, LeBron, A.I., Dwyane Wade and Jermaine O'Neal. It's amazing when you consider LeBron's status now as a top 5 vote-getter that he didn't earn a starting nod his rookie year.

Reserves will be announced a week from today. It's never too early to lobby: Why not Paul?

Speaking of Paul, he's at the center of the biggest drama of the Rookie-Soph Game. Rosters were announced yesterday and he's on the Rookie team -- but only if he doesn't play with the Big Boys on Sunday.

NASCAR Romance
In case you missed it, the first edition of those NASCAR/Harlequin Romance novels came out yesterday: "In the Groove," by Pamela Britton. (Admit it, you preordered a copy weeks ago.)

I haven't read it. I'm not quite sure I will. It just might not hit the target for Quickie Book Club material. But until someone comes out with a version for the NFL or NBA, this is the best you're gonna do. Oy.

Eric Govan:
What is it with Bay Area PR managers for pro teams? First the 49ers fiasco; now a Warriors staffer axed for allegedly sending a racially insensitive e-mail.
Today on ESPN.com
Quickie: Live!
SB XL Coverage
Page 2 Index
Top NBA Surprises
Hornets .500
Move to OKC for best?
Pistons 38-6
Better without Brown
Clippers Rule!
Brand for MVP?
Avery Johnson
Coaching West stars
Bulls, Rockets duds
Supposed to be playoff teams

Bill Leavy is going to be reffing the Super Bowl -- his first time doing it. So when things go horribly wrong, you'll know who's taking the fall.

Mike Tice to coach Jags, role TBD: Remember all of that talk about how the Jags were one of the NFL's up-and-coming teams? Ehh, nevermind.

Did you think the Pistons would be derailed by their 6th loss on Tuesday night? Hardly: Flip's ex-team, the Timberwolves, were just the tonic.

Tonight's marquee NBA matchup: LeBron vs. Dwyane. Fans may prefer LeBron, but Wade gets at least one edge over him with his playoff run in 2005.

Be sure to sign up for the Big Game Showdown to make your Super Bowl picks and compete against other readers. Group name: Daily Quickie Readers.

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