Add star-power to the Lakers
By Brian and Andy Kamenetzky
Special to Page 2

With the announcement that Gary Payton has agreed to sign with the Lakers on July 16 -- and fellow future Hall of Famer Karl Malone expected to join him -- the makings of a new Dream Team are in place. But why stop with these two? The Lakers have other holes, and who knows who else might be lured to Los Angeles for the veteran's exception and a shot at a ring? It could take a sign-and-trade or a few choice waivings, but we think it's all feasible. According to exclusive Page 2 sources, the followng candidates are in play for a coveted roster spot:

Mike Tyson: Iron Mike is well past his boxing prime. His reactions are slower, his weight is an issue, and his technical skills have diminished beyond repair. But with four superstars on the roster, if things go poorly, the Lakers will need to take advantage of the one thing Tyson still does well -- create shocking, attention-grabbing controversies. Who will care about the Lakers scuffling towards the All Star Break after Tyson eats Jack Nicholson's face during a November time out?

Rickey Henderson
Rickey Henderson is known for his speed and greatness as a leadoff batter, but could he convert his baseball prowess into basketball greatness?
Rickey Henderson: The man just wants to play. Plus, the $1 million Rickey would get in the NBA is more than Rickey would get in the bigs. Rickey enjoys making an extra buck or two. Plus, think what Ricky would bring to the Lake Show -- speed (they need it), a thirst for competition, and most importantly, Hall of Fame ability at referring to Rickey in the third person. Sure, Shaq provides strength and depth in this area, but letting him learn around Rickey could make Superman the greatest third-personer of all-time. Plus, wouldn't it be great for Rickey to use the name Medvedenko during interviews?

Howard Stern: Even with the Glove and the Mailman, the Lakers still need an outside shooter. If anyone shoots from outside the mainstream, it's Howard. Phil likes big guards. Howard's tall. And who else could convince the Laker girls to play Lesbian Dial-A-Date?

Jimmy Carter: Sure, he'd be a defensive liability, but even ex-presidents get Secret Service escorts. You try getting in between one of those guys and the hoop when Mr. President takes it strong to the hole. And after his rocky administration, the guy needs a title to cap off his career, allowing him to be the first player ever to win a ring, a Nobel Prize ... and negotiate a major nuclear disarmament pact with the Soviet Union. Now that's a legacy.

Sharon Stone: The woman desperately needs to be part of a quality project, which Dream Team '03-'04 qualifies as. She was a finalist for "Casino," but never won a title. She, like Payton and Malone, must know the end is near. In return for the chance at the ring, the Lakers know that Stone, when seated, can provide ample distraction to opponents.

Bill Walton
As you can see from this picture, Bill Walton already has too much time on his hands. He might as well come back and win a ring with his son.
Bill Walton: Sure, his best years are way behind him and he was injury prone in his prime. Plus, he's already got the bling bling anyway. But the thought of a father and son winning a ring together is too sentimental for him to pass up.

George O'Leary: He's gonna say he played for them anyway, so might as well just give him a jersey.

John Travolta: If there's anyone who can teach these guys a thing or two about making a comeback after some coasting, it's this guy. "Battlefield Earth" killed any chance for him to be taken seriously enough to take home an Oscar. So here's his shot at glory. He's got more girth than Horry. Let John back up Malone. Besides, these are big guys with long legs. An extra jet to stretch out on could really do wonders for morale.

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson may not be the best basketball player in the league, but he brings a hot wife and plenty of PGA stories to the table.
Phil Mickelson: By now, he'd take any kind of title and call it a day. Granted, he's not rumored to be especially athletic off the links. Then again, consider recent Lakers Greg Foster, Jelani McCoy and J.R. Rider. How much less could Phil contribute? Plus, he gets increasingly doughy every year and has the hottest wife in his sport. He'll have a lot to talk about with Shaq and Fox.

Jeremy Giambi: For God's sake, just give this guy one shot at winning anything before Jason does!

Bea Arthur: Because Phil hates dealing with unseasoned rookies. Plus, four words: Betty White. Willing Groupie.

Emmitt Smith: Solid guy, incredible athlete, championship experience, blah, blah, blah, who cares? We just gotta get Emiitt out of an Arizona uni before the season starts and the stink can't be washed off.

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