By Bill Simmons
Page 2

Let's try another edition of the Sports Guy Chat: More questions than a mailbag, better quality than the questions from an actual chat (because I get to handpick them), shorter responses, more ground to be covered. How is this different than a mailbag, you ask? Because it is. That's why. As always, these are actual questions from actual readers.

Q: In your last mailbag, you left out a few instances in which it's OK to drink before 10 a.m.: (1) The Boston Marathon; (2) the last week of college (I don't think drinking starts before noon, I think it doesn't end until commencement); and (3) being from New England, you should know that nothing warms you up on a cold winter's morning like a BKG (hot chocolate, Baileys, Kahlua, and Grand Marnier).
-- Brandon, Trumbull, Conn.

SG: You're right, I completely blew that list the first time around; I'm taking a mulligan. Here's my official "When it's OK to drink before 10 a.m." list:

Jack Nicholson
AP Photo/Reed Saxon
Jack can crack open a cold one whenever he wants. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

While attending football tailgates, college reunions or the Boston Marathon … during your final two weeks of college … during any Vegas trip or bachelor party or guys-only golf outing … if you pulled an all-nighter and haven't left a strip club yet … before any wedding that starts at 1 p.m. or earlier … any time your in-laws are visiting … during any morning when it's below 10 degrees … if you're dating an actress and just attended a movie premiere during which she had a graphic sex scene with someone else on a 50-foot screen … while living in any town in Canada that's farther than 75 miles from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa or Vancouver … if you've been writing for a late-night talk show for more than two years … if your name is "Jack Nicholson" … before your fantasy football draft if you're trying to get the ball rolling so some of your other buddies get plastered … and if you're Vin Baker and you're getting checks from four different NBA teams at the exact same time.

Q: You said that you are unfazed by celebrities anymore. Would this include the Basketball Jesus? I can't imagine that an encounter with Larry Legend would not faze you, and in a completely different way than MJ entering a room.
-- Ryan, Brockton, Mass.

SG: That's different though -- that's more of a religious experience. Like seeing the top of the Sistine Chapel or something.

Q: I'm sorry, but does Keith Olbermann know what he's saying when he says that unless Barry Bonds sues, his records will be expunged? Are you kidding me? If he sues, he has every single leg to stand on. At no point were steroids illegal in baseball until after he had played all of his "steroid-enhanced seasons." Although I am a Giants fan, every point I have made is legally correct. According to the new book, Bonds was still a first-ballot Hall of Famer before '98. Are you telling me that with or without drugs he still wasn't?
-- Cameron, Hermosa Beach, Calif.

SG: I couldn't agree more. What Bonds did made him unheroic and unlikable, but he wasn't a cheater. He took advantage of a bad system and maximized all the loopholes that were already in place -- loopholes that existed because the commissioner's office and players' union were more than happy to look the other way while the offensive explosion in the late-'90s rejuvenated the nation's interest in baseball. Sure, Bonds ruined his body and his reputation in the process, and he'll be lucky to make it to 60 years old, and he's going to be remembered as the Hall of Fame Bad Guy of his generation … but it's tough to blame someone for breaking the rules when nobody was policing those same rules. His records should stay.

Q: I always enjoyed Jennifer Love Hewitt on "Party of Five." However, despite her lovely breasts, she has grown Merton Hanks' neck. She's not even the hottest woman on "Ghost Whisperer." That title goes to Aisha Tyler.
-- Robert Saunders, Nashville

SG: There's no question that a woman wrote that e-mail under a pseudonym. None.

Q: College people have told me I look a lot like Adam Carolla. It's getting more frequent as I move into my late-20s, and it's really starting to bug me since I am hands down better-looking than him. Can you think of a way for me to spin this into a positive?
-- Andrew, Phoenix

SG: Sure. Adam Carolla is a millionaire. He's extremely rich. He has a beautiful wife. He lives in a mansion in Hollywood Hills. He works 20 hours a week and spends the entire time talking (which is funny because he would have spent the entire time talking, anyway). And he leads the kind of life where this was his most traumatic moment of 2006: He bought a used Ferrari on eBay, thought it was arriving on a Friday, and it didn't show up until Sunday … ruining his weekend in the process. (That's a true story). So you might be in better hands than you think.

Q: Just wanted to let you know that it's incredibly satisfying to see an e-mail I wrote while stoned make it into your mailbag. Especially since it was entirely coherent. It's a good feeling.
-- Brad, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

SG: For both of us, Brad. For both of us.

Q: You have to say something about that Greece-Athena student manager, Jason McElwain. And I also think it deserves a mention as a "how much would you pay" situation. I mean, after seeing it on "SportsCenter" … if I had known beforehand how he would bring down the house, I'd have paid $1,000 to be in the gym cheering him on. I've never seen a crowd react like that.
-- Michael Andry, San Antonio, Texas

SG: I would have paid three grand. Here's the weird thing: If you remember from "Real Sports" last year, there was already a situation in which a special-needs manager for a high school hoops team ended up playing in his team's final home game and making a 3, and they're making a movie about that as well. So is this going to lead to dueling "special-needs hoop players" movies, like when they released two Steve Prefontaine movies a few years ago? And legally, how will Frankie Muniz be able to star in both of them at the same time? We need to figure this out.

Q: I know it is a nice heartwarming story and all … but nobody has mentioned that the white autistic kid from upstate NY has put Kobe's chucking skills to shame. I mean, come on, 13 shots in four minutes of high school ball with no shot clock! Plus the "SportsCenter" pieces mentions he was 7-13 with six 3s, yet they only show his first miss -- a bad airball. Were his other five misses that bad, but they didn't want to show them because they'd ruin the piece? Do you have access to this from the ESPN vault?
-- Glenn, Springfield, Mass.

SG: Satan, I introduce to you … Glenn from Springfield!

Q: The "Lazy Sunday" sketch has been hailed as the funniest thing to happen to "SNL" since "More Cowbell," and I'm inclined to agree. But does it belong in the All-Time Pantheon of Great SNL Sketches, or does this just stand out so much because "SNL" has been so atrociously bad the past couple years? I mean, if "Lazy Sunday" had gone down during the Murphy/Piscopo era, would we still be talking about it 20 years later? Will this stand the test of time, like Gumby or the Coneheads or Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley competing to get a job at Chippendales?
-- M. McCullar, Dallas

SG: I was watching that particular show live, so the sketch was funnier at the time because it was so refreshingly different from everything else that was happening. As soon as it was over, I rewound it on TiVo and watched it again, mainly to make sure it really happened. (I thought it was brilliant; the cupcakes subplot and the Hamilton-Burr line killed me.) Then it took off on the Internet, which was interesting because it proved how lame and out-of-date "SNL" had become; for the first time in five years, people were forwarding around an "SNL" sketch. Incredible. I'm telling you, the 1975 Lorne Michaels would have tried to kill himself if he knew what was going to happen to "SNL" in the 21st century. There's no question. He would have blown about 45 lines with Belushi and called it a day. And while we're on the subject, Michael O'Donoghue has to be doing triple axels in his grave right now. This is a whole other story.

Anyway, I thought it was a potential pantheon sketch, but the resulting online commotion almost made me a little sad. It wasn't any better or worse than "Cowbell," the Mr. Belvedere sketch, Jackie Rogers Jr.'s $100,000 Jackpot Wad or 35 other sketches from the last 30 years. But because the bar is so low these days, "Lazy Sunday" felt like some sort of comedy apex when it really wasn't anything close to that. For instance, if you staged the Dunk Contest and invited only unathletic guys, then had them botch dunks for two straight hours while everyone zoned out, and then Josh Smith came out there and dunked from the foul line, it would probably cause a riot. I think "Lazy Sunday" was like that. And as they keep trying to rip it off (like with the inferior Natalie Portman video last weekend), people will eventually not like it as much. Historically, I don't think it will have the legs. But we'll see.

Daniel Stern
AP Photo/Chris Urso
NBA commissioner Daniel Stern -- now that'd be funny. (AP Photo/Chris Urso)

Q: Hey Bill, great job on the Daniel Stern interview. Now that you've humanized him, he'll never get an MTV-like "Apprentice" rip-off. Now, he's probably going to end up with a Danny Knows Best reality show based on his love of the WNBA on the Oxygen Network.
-- John, Union City, Calif.

SG: I don't know, John … I wouldn't count Daniel Stern out. The man is resilient.

Q: Hey Dumb Ass, I don't have a question, just a comment about your Oscar piece. The reason Don Knotts was not in the death montage was because the montage is for people who died LAST YEAR! Did you see Darren McGavin or Dennis Weaver in there? NO!
-- Bill, Boston

SG: All right, Dumb Ass, so why was Chris Penn on there then? HUH? HUH? Actually, I found this out -- the cutoff date for being included in the People Who Died Montage is Feb. 1. So for any Hollywood PR people out there, try to encourage your clients to die in mid-to-late January for the optimum Oscars ovation.

Q: I am just wondering why you are not writing more NBA columns. I live in the Netherlands and enjoy them a lot, I just feel the frequency has dropped over the last couple of years. So hope you are going to write some more.
-- Sarju, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Q: Please write about something else. I'm tired of the NBA. Thank you.
-- Bo, Buies Creek, N.C.

SG: These e-mails arrived in my mailbox within 25 seconds of one another. And you think this job is easy.

Q: Did you see the Red Sox list of spring training invitees? Nestled in amongst the Gabe Kaplers and Ken Huckabys is pitcher Jimmy Serrano. How can you not root for this guy to make the team? Imagine sitting behind the Sox bullpen, the gate swings open, and Serrano trots onto the field. Just to help out those farther back in the bleachers that can't see who's coming into the game, you stand up and yell "Serrano's gonna pitch! SERRANO'S GONNA PITCH!"
-- Michael, Wakefield, Mass.

SG: Believe me, I've been monitoring it. According to one depth chart, Jimmy Serrano ranks dead-last for Red Sox pitchers right now (29th overall), so this doesn't look good. At the very least, couldn't they sign Sidney Ponson so they could hang out in the bullpen together. Ponson could complain about his playing time, and Jimmy Serrano could say, "Sidney, relax, have a cream soda, do some [bleeping] thing."

Q: What do you feel the over/under should be for Jerome Bettis' inevitable ascent to 300 pounds? Also, at what weight do you think he'll peak? I envision Bettis wedged into a Lazy Boy recliner surrounded by a semicircle of KFC buckets. I predict he'll top 300 pounds just after Halloween -- no surprise there -- and will max out at 337 before his former teammates enact an intervention in an IHOP booth.
-- Tim Donovan, Los Angeles

SG: Wait a second … you think he'll top 300 pounds just after Halloween? I hope that either (A) you sent this e-mail to me last summer and it was trapped in cyberspace for nine months, or (B) you meant "Halloween, 2005." But to answer your question, I think Bettis and Barkley are going to become the Russell/Chamberlain of overweight studio analysts over the next 3-4 years. Four hundred pounds wouldn't surprise me. One of them growing to Shirley Hemphill/Marsha Warfield proportions wouldn't surprise me. Hell, one of them fitting into one of David Byrne's old jackets from the "Stop Making Sense" tour wouldn't surprise me. And if this leads to Bettis and Barkley getting their own ESPN talk show called "Pardon the Digestion," I think it's a good thing.

Q: So Bill, I just wanted to congratulate you on your book -- it's funny, touching, intelligent. But most importantly, for me anyway, your book is 189 poops long. Thanks for the memories!
-- Bob Pfeiffer, Atlanta

SG: If you don't think that blurb is making its way onto the next printing of the book, you're crazy.

Q: Can't you picture Ricky Williams turning away in disgust from his bag of weed yelling "I wish I knew how to quit you!" with the bag of weed yelling back "Then why don't ya!" even though both know that their bond, while forbidden, will be a love that will last forever? I think we have a sequel to "Brokeback Mountain" right here folks.
-- Andy Manley, Madison, Wis.

SG: But what would it be called? Brokebag Mountain? Brokebong Mountain? Brokebud Mountain? Brokelung Mountain? Or would they call it, "Brokeback Mountain 2: Forbidden High?" You can't come up with an e-mail like that and not give me the title. Plus, who would play the bag of weed? Snoop Dogg? Philip Seymour Hoffman? Jim Breuer? Harrison Ford? Ice Cube?

Q: Farewell and good riddance. I only wish you would have been run over by our famous man-eating lightrail before you decided to leave and never come back.
-- Ryan, Houston

SG: Thanks, Ryan! Good to hear from you.

Q: As a Knicks fan, I'm dying here. The best parallel I can make with Isiah Thomas' tenure as GM is with Michael Jackson's nose. The more they try to correct the previous mistake, the worse it keeps getting.
-- Kevin, Brick, N.J.

Q: Playing the "How much would you pay?" game, I think I would pay $1,000 to get Zeke out of the Knicks' front office. Please keep in mind that I am fresh out of grad school and have a job that pays less than $30,000 a year with overtime. I am also saving for a wedding as well, but I don't care. I would REALLY pay a thousand freaking dollars to not put up with this anymore!
-- Dan, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Larry Brown, Steve Francis & Isiah Thomas
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
Many Knicks fans feel like they're in prison. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Q: Zeke, Larry Brown and Stevie standing around taking pictures was the most sickening thing I have ever seen in my life … and I've been in prison.
-- J. Rich, Riverhead, N.Y.

Q: With the Francis trade, has Isiah stolen the "laughably oblivious to how humorous the rest of the country finds him" mantle from Kevin Federline? Despite Isiah's on-court success, both guys owe their current stature soley to the benevolence of a misguided benefactor, yet both seem to honestly believe they actually bring something to the table. I wonder if they get together with James Woods' character from "Casino" every now and then for cocktails.
-- Mike, Chicago

SG: As you can see, we had a four-way tie for the "Funniest Knicks-related e-mail" contest this month … and those were the runner-ups. Here was the best one:

Q: I think I have finally come up with an analogy for the New York Knicks … the WWE's Spanish announcer's table. Every week they find a new way to destroy that freaking thing. Just like Knick fans, the Spanish announcers know it is coming, but there is nothing they can do but wait, watch and carry on. But instead of Triple H giving Mick Foley a pedigree through the table, it is Isiah for Marbury, Curry or Francis.
-- Tony Cortina, Rochester, N.Y.

SG: And so it's done. They aren't the Knicks anymore … they're the New York Spanish Announcer's Table. Done and done.

Q: Why don't you humor us with your thoughts on the Olympic hockey tournament?
-- L. Harrington, Worcester, Mass.

SG: I did have one thought, and forgive me if someone else mentioned it, but I haven't read it anywhere else: Why does the NHL keep shutting down for three weeks so everyone can play in the Olympics when you rarely (if ever) hear anyone say, "Wow, I can't believe all the NHL players are in the Olympics, this is great!" Just seems like a colossal waste of time. If they're trying to lure over sports fans who aren't following hockey regularly … well, I'm a sports fan, and I couldn't tell you which hockey teams won the 1998, 2002 or 2006 gold medals if you offered me 10 grand. That's how little I cared. But when I watch the "Name that Coconut" challenge on the "Real World/Road Rules Gauntlet," I can answer every one of T.J. Lavin's questions correctly -- I even went 7-for-7 during the Brad-Derrick battle last Monday. What does this mean? I'm not sure.

Q: Hartford's dangerous, ugly, uncool, and poorly laid-out, too. If Houston can become a major sports event destination, can't New England's Rising Star as well? I vote for the Final Four at the Civic Center.
-- Chris, Hartford, Conn.

SG: Hey, Hartford may be dangerous, ugly, uncool, and poorly laid-out … but at least everyone there knows it. Everyone in Houston is in denial. Put it this way: When you ask the concierge of a major hotel in Houston where you should go in the city to walk around, do some sightseeing and kill a couple of hours, and that concierge thinks about it for a few seconds, hems and haws, then refers you to the Galleria Mall and tells you, "That's really about it," then your city sucks to visit. I hate to break it to you.

Q: Which of the following would best describe your reaction to your adopted Clippers team signing Vin Baker: (A) The surreal incredulity of Dr. Loomis after Michael Myers lives though being shot repeatedly ("I shot him six times!"); (B) the smoldering frustration of Sollozzo after finding out Don Corleone survived the attempted hit ("He's still alive."); (C) the silent resignation of Apollo Creed as Rocky beckons to him to keep fighting at the end of their first bout.
-- J.R., Pittsburgh

Nomar Garciaparra
AP Photo/Rick Silva
This is gonna take some getting used to. (AP Photo/Rick Silva)

SG: Probably the last one. I just don't understand it … I moved to Los Angeles more than three years ago, and since then, my Boston sports skeletons keep following me out here: Grady Little (the Red Sox manager who drove me the craziest, and that's saying something); Nomar Garciaparra (who just makes me feel bad that his career has fallen to the point that he's playing first base in the National League … good God, it's like watching a 90-pound Lindsay Lohan playing the fourth lead in a WB sitcom eight years from now with dark hair and a flat chest); Vin Baker (in all honesty, the man that drove me out of Boston -- I never would have moved if the Celtics had remained a playoff contender); Walter McCarty (a nice enough guy, but someone that you just don't want to watch as a basketball fan for more than 4-5 years if you value your health); and, of course, Derek Lowe (whose Derek Lowe Face launched the Pantheon of Faces). If Chris Wallace replaces Elgin Baylor as the next Clippers GM, I'm moving. That will be the final straw.

Q: I had a dream last night that your atrocious GM column was pulled from because there were reports that Isiah was going to kill you … with a big knife. Yeah, that's right, I dreamt about you.
-- Dan Hunsinger, Seattle, Wash.

SG: Ladies and gentlemen, the Green River Killer! He's back!

Q: Hey Bill, my name is Jon and I'm a writer for The Daily Collegian at UMass-Amherst. Last week I wrote an article that had to do with the crew team here and I seem to have pissed off a lot of people. I was wondering what you do when your fans get pissed off at you and send hate mail and death threats. Also, if at all possible, since the crew team has given me such grief, try to work them into your next article. Maybe something about how much rowing sucks and how it's not even a sport. Just make 'em hurt. I'd appreciate it.
-- Jon B., Sharon, Mass.

SG: Come on, it's the crew team. Settle down. What are they going to do, attack you with a broken Zima bottle? Keep in mind, this is a sport that is (A) huge in Britain, and (B) allows for the everyday use of the word "coxswain." And if you're rowing crew in college, this usually means one (or more) of four things:

1) You suck at every intramural sport, as well as every video game and every drinking game, so this is really the only way you can find a competitive outlet -- by participating in a sport that's not even remotely fun to do (so the odds have been decreased because anyone with any semblance of coordination would rather be doing something else).

2) You're looking for an acceptable excuse to get up at 5:30 a.m. on weekends so you don't have to be out drinking, partying or doing anything else that might result in you having a memorable experience in college.

3) You were looking for an activity in which you need to be in phenomenal shape and routinely throw up, but for no real reason.

4) You really, really, REALLY liked "Oxford Blues."

(And by the way, if rowing is a sport, then "playing Madden while walking at 3.8 miles per hour on the treadmill" should also be considered a sport. So don't worry about it, Jon B. Stick to your guns. It's a free country.)

Q: Where does Jessica Simpson trying to bang every single A and B+ list celebrity rank on the Vengeance Scale?
-- Paul, Colorado Springs, Colo.

SG: About as high as Allen Iverson's upcoming 75-point performance against Steve Nash and the Suns. And you know it's coming.

Q: I wanted to give you a heads-up. The strippers out here in Vegas have adjusted for the "Armada Defense" you preach in strip clubs. My buddy was there this weekend, and had an impressive six-man armada flanked by a wall. The girls then proceded to casually sit on the tops of the chairs and eventually work their legs over. You need to draw us up a counter to this new offensive.
-- P. Gaughan, Las Vegas

SG: Two words: Cigarette smoking. There's always an area for them to infiltrate, either over the chair behind your left or right shoulder. Keep that cigarette burning over the open area and they won't want to wade through the smoke or risk a potential cigarette burn. Never fails. By the way, I've never been to a strip joint before. This is all hearsay.

Hayden Panettiere
AP Photo/Tammie Arroyo
Yes, Hayden Panettiere has grown up a bit. (AP Photo/Tammie Arroyo)

Q: Have you seen any recent pictures of Hayden Panettiere, better known as Coach Yost's daughter from "Remember the Titans"? Should I feel proud or dirty that I predicted this development the very first time I saw the movie?
-- Chad, Louisville, Ky.

SG: And you wonder why I haven't posted any photos of my kid yet.

Q: I was reading your Monday Night TV Marathon Cowbell and couldn't agree more: Moana's predictable meltdown was the highlight of the season (not that I watched the whole season or anything). During the limo scene, when she is going on and on about feeling like a fool, and finally opening herself up to someone only to get hurt, my wife (who was rooting for the medium-breasted Sarah) yells at the TV, "That's the chance you took when you signed up for the show, [expletive]." More evidence that women are crazy and shouldn't be allowed to handle firearms.
-- Aaron Treat, Beaverton, Ore.

SG: Do we even need to keep stockpiling any more evidence at this point? By the way, Travis and Sarah already broke up and decided they were better off as friends … which would have been the least surprising announcement of the week if the excerpts from the Bonds book hadn't been released.

Q: I have to take issue with your assessment of Sean Astin's performance on "24." Having spent my entire career working in the military and various other government bureaucracies, I can assure you that Astin's portrayal of an anal-retentive, micro-managing, hotshot career bureaucrat with a Napoleon complex who takes out the shortcomings in his personal life on his subordinates is spot-on. I've worked at every level for bosses so eerily like his character that I start having flashbacks whenever Astin is onscreen. I wouldn't be surprised if Astin interviewed some of my old superiors in preparing for his role. Love the column, Sports Guy, but you're way off on this one. He's perfect.
-- Brett, Williamsburg, Va.

SG: That's all fine. But he's still Rudy. He's always going to be Rudy. I haven't made it through a single episode this season without starting a "Rudy" chant. Plus, you can't have Rudy as the head of CTU when you already had Pedro Serrano as the president of the United States. (Too many sports movie crossovers. At that point, you might as well have Cuba Gooding as a trash-talking field agent.) I just think they did too much stunt-casting this season -- between Rudy, Robocop, Tom Berenger's girlfriend from "The Big Chill," Rob Lowe's nemesis from "Oxford Blues" and C. Thomas Howell, my head is spinning. That reminds me -- instead of a menacing fu manchu, couldn't they have convinced Howell to dress up in his old outfit from "Soul Man"?

Q: Is the introduction of the Starbucks breakfast sandwich the most crushing blow to individual physical fitness of the past decade? I just crushed one of those in about 23 seconds and I'm not going to lie, I could go for another.
-- Matt, Portland, Ore.

SG: Not since the Dunkin Donuts coffee cake muffin has the country been in this much danger. I gained two pounds just from reading that e-mail. But you know what? I'll never know what the Starbucks breakfast sandwich tastes like, because they opened a Peet's Coffee near my house a few months ago … better coffee, friendlier people behind the counter, food freebies from time to time, the chance to say "large," medium" and small" again, and no crappy music being shoved down my throat? It's a dream come true. I even own my own Peet's debit card. Wait, should I be sharing all of this? Probably not.

Q: Are you crazy? Like him or not, Kobe is the BEST player on the PLANET right now. You cannot leave him off the Olympic team. You have to have him, even if it means leaving Shaq to eat triple cheeseburgers in Miami. No two players in the NBA can defend him, no other scorer in the NBA plays defense like he does, and really, who do you want taking the potential game-winning shot in the gold medal game? Shaq would tell you Kobe.
-- Greg Rivaldi, Carlsbad, Calif.

SG: That last point is a really good one. When I made my 2008 team, I was projecting 30 months from now and hoping that LeBron and/or Wade would be just as competent at crunch time. And I'm not sure you can have all three guys on the team because they're all Alpha Dogs, and we learned the hard way that you can't have an Olympic team with too many Alpha Dogs. At the same time, if my life depended on it, and I needed a basket with 10 seconds to play, Kobe would be the guy.

(Translation: I was wrong. Having a 2008 team without Kobe is shortsighted, even if he's contrived and self-centered to a certain degree, and even if he hasn't had a single teammate enjoy playing with him since 2001. In crunch time, you need him. I'm going to take another crack at that column this summer after we see what happens with Shaq and Stoudemire this spring. I'm also willing to reconsider Carmelo.)

Q: What about Paul Shirley as the 12th man, just for the brooding, daily blog of the goings-on in the Olympic Village? Tremendous upside right there.
-- Spencer, Los Angeles

SG: You sold me. I'm bumping off Chris Bosh and adding Shirley.

Jason McElwain
AP Photo/The Daily Messenger, Eric Sucar
The U.S. needs Jason McElwain on the Olympic team. (AP Photo/The Daily Messenger, Eric Sucar)

Q: Suggestion for Team USA basketball: What about naming Jason McElwain to the USA basketball team's staff? Talk about energy. That kid has it in spades. Even the jaded NBA players would have difficulty not being inspired by him. Plus, if we're actually down in a game (ex: Puerto Rico hosing us by 20 points), we can put the kid in and let him rain down 3s for us. And he's a Token White Guy. That's a trifecta!
-- Andrew, Dallas

SG: That didn't take long -- Shirley's out, McElwain's in. That could lead to the greatest Olympic moment since the 1980 U.S.A.-U.S.S.R. hockey game.

Q: I'm guessing you didn't see "Transamerica," or you would have mentioned the most shocking and awkward full frontal nudity in the history of film. For the whole movie, you're watching Felicity Huffman play a guy, down to even watching her take a pee with a prosthetic penis. Then at the end, she has the surgery, and she's naked in the bathtub. The combination of "Holy crap, Felicity Huffman's naked!" and "Wait, she was just a man!" and "Wow, nice job on the surgery!" and "Oh right, she's actually a woman" is unmatched.
-- Bill Copeland, Arlington, Va.

SG: Just imagine how William H. Macy feels every day.

Q: Just read your Cowbell about the Oscars, and how Nicholson is never not the coolest guy in the room … which begs the question based on a recent column of yours: Who'd win the "Coolest Guy in the Room" contest, Jack Nicholson or Charles Oakley?
-- Michael, Columbus, Ohio

SG: I vote for Nicholson. Even though Oakley is more impressive in person, more people would be impressed if they saw Nicholson waddling through a room with that big smile on his face. In fact, during that Lakers-Celtics game, our entire section was watching him in awed silence until I finally broke the ice with the obligatory, "Did you order the Code Red?!?" joke. Would Oakley inspire that level of awed silence? Probably not. But I think this is like one of those "Who would win in a fight: a bear or a shark?" questions. There's no real way to solve it.

Q: Jennifer Garner's pregnancy-enhanced cleavage … is there any way to make this permanent? If so, I'd like to redistribute all the money I've ever given to the Salvation Army.
-- Jess Mosser, Cambridge, Ohio

SG: Yup … these are my readers.

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine, and his Sports Guy's World site is updated every day, Monday through Friday. His new book "Now I Can Die In Peace" is available on and in bookstores everywhere.