By Tim Keown
Page 2

Hello there. My name is Dat Nguyen, and I'm just here to say I haven't noticed anything out of the ordinary.

This Week's List

Bill Parcells

  • And the beauty of it is, by prefacing his remarks with " ... no disrespect for the Orientals," he managed to insult them both coming and going: In a press conference Monday, Bill Parcells said his offensive coaches have a few "Jap plays" -- surprises, get it? Like Pearl Harbor? -- ready for their opponents this year.

  • There might be a major-league job out there for the Rice pitching coach ... or its lead recruiter: Three of the Owls' pitchers -- Philip Humber, Jeff Niemann and Wade Townsend -- were among the top eight picks in Monday's draft.

  • It's almost enough to make you forgive the hair: Long Beach State pitcher Jered Weaver, Jeff's brother, has walked a grand total of 19 hitters in 136 1/3 innings.

  • To be honest, it's like something you'd expect from Detroit: Dick Van Dyke sang the national anthem before Game 1 at the Staples Center, and he wore American flag sneakers.

  • And they should still win going away: Larry Brown's Olympic basketball team might end up looking more like a contrived Futures game by the time everybody is finished pulling themselves off the team.

  • Still: Carlos Boozer, Olympian?

  • Maybe she's auditioning for her own reality show -- The World's Angriest Female: Marion Jones' latest public target is IOC president Jacques Rogge, who questioned her current and past associations, including her choice of roommates, a directly indirect reference to Tim Montgomery.

  • And, as far as votes of confidence go, this one's right up there with, "We reserve the right to re-evaluate Skip's job performance as we see fit": Rogge is quoted as saying of Jones, "Today she is technically innocent."

  • You know the starting times for the NBA Finals are too late when ... : You live in the Pacific time zone and the games still end too late for your sports-mad second-grader to watch till the end.

  • Just for the heck of it: Sonny Parker.

  • Two eternal truths of card-playing: 1) Don't play poker against anybody whose first name is a state or a species of snake; 2) Don't play poker against a guy named "Moneymaker."

  • Wow, you figure that had to hurt at some point or another: The announcer just said Tampa Bay's Dave Andreychuk has played more than 1,700 games without a Cup.

    Cecil Fielder
    We miss watching Cecil Fielder run the bases.

  • By the way, could you imagine someone in another sport -- say, the manager of the team that eventually beats the Cubs in some future World Series -- apologizing for ruining such a good story the way the Birdstone people did?: Watching Smarty Jones run the final stretch of the Belmont was like watching Cecil Fielder try to stretch a double into a triple.

  • Smarty Jones: The most disappointing finish by a horse since Pie-O-My.

  • The NHL might be in danger of becoming a cult sport, but there's no denying one truth: In the sports world, there's no desperation quite like Stanley Cup playoff desperation.

  • One problem: Overtime in Game 7 is an absolute necessity.

  • Calgary's favorite son: Kerry Fraser.

  • We're all for the sentimental value of rooting for the old guys, but: Karl Malone and Gary Payton have to show a little more than they did in Game 1 to capture the public's imagination.

  • Like we were saying: Elden Campbell and Ben Wallace, hitting the big shots.

  • Larry Brown's defensive strategy: Let Shaq get his.

  • This might be treading perilously close to the dreaded coach-is-god school of thought, but here goes: Phil Jackson let them play it their way in Game 1, and everything that follows will be different.

  • To which you say: Yeah, right -- take your Zen somewhere else.

  • This is a remarkable concept, especially when you consider the interviews aren't the Jon-Gruden-talks-dismissively-out-of-the-side-of-his-mouth-for-eight-seconds-while-running-to-the-locker-room variety: Even in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, hockey players take time out during intermission to do a television interview.

  • To put it into the proper perspective, consider this possibility: "Gary Payton, you're 1-for-5 with no assists in the first half, whaddaya think you need to do to turn it around?"

  • And finally, grading on this liberal curve, Brent Musburger has Bill Russell beat all to hell: We have to assume Byron Scott was practicing his sarcasm when he began his comments on the pregame show Sunday night by saying, "This is my third straight Finals ... "

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. He is the co-author of the upcoming book "Hunting the Jackal: A Special Forces and CIA Ground Soldier's Fifty-Year Career Hunting America's Enemies," to be published in June by William Morrow.


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