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Sports Watching & Wondering

John Randolph Rogers

That heavy breeze that you felt in the Southland on last Monday night was the sigh of relief from the Los Angeles Lakers. By the skins of their chinny chins. they avoided having to go back to Utah to play game six. The Lakers have more talent than the Jazz, but the Jazz, in my opinion, have a much better head coach. They are a tough team, and they play hard every moment they are on the court. However you describe it, Bump and Grind, or Wear and Tear, they have it.

They play in this small market, and they cannot afford to pay superstar salaries. So, they make do with what they have. One of their best players is Carlos Boozer, and he is now a free agent. The Lakers would certainly use his kind of talent and toughness. His being here would allow the team to trade both Odom and Walton to teams that would be comfortable with their inconsistent and mediocre performances.

Andrew Bynum is now giving the Lakers management and their fans something to worry about. Under the careful tutelage of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he had been making progress as a professional basketball player.

Then he suffered a serious injury to one of his knees, and under what a long rehabilitation period, before he was able to play again. His improved play made him an important part of the team, and then he suffered a serious injury to his other knee. The last injury did not require any surgery, but it was about two months before he was able to play again. His return to the court has been less than spectacular, but he has caused excitement in another venue. He was photographed at the Playboy Club, with a young lady sitting on his shoulders. It was reported that he felt that her added weight was recommended as a part of his rehabilitation program.

Following this episode, was the news that he is now dating a Rock Star. She has just survived a public brawl with her Rock Star boyfriend. It was reported that she punched him after reading a message on his cell phone. It was also reported that he expressed his displeasure by punching her in the face several times. The photographs of her show many, many bruises, but she did not file any charges. So, all in all, they may be a perfect pair. He has recently signed a $58 million contract with the Lakers. I have a feeling that they are more than thrilled with the new adventures of Andrew Bynum.

I hope that President Obama will have the charges against Barry Bonds dropped. I assume that he and many other athletes used illegal substances in efforts to improve their athletic performances. What we have learned since this story began to unfold is that many athletes, possibly a majority of them, were doing the same thing. At that time, Major League Baseball did not have the testing procedures that they do now. Also, the authorities turned a blind eye to the use of illegal substances. Bonds, and other athletes, are not in trouble because they used these substances, but because they denied using them. Let us assume that they were cheating, but there is a culture in many professional sports, that encourages cheating if you can get away with it. It is rare for any athlete to be placed under oath, and asked whether or not they have been cheating. They do not ask Bankers that, either.

Since he has been charged, Bonds has probably spent more than $1 million in legal fees. Last year, with this cloud over his head, none of the ball clubs offered him a contract, even though he hit more than 30 home runs the previous year. So, he has already paid a horrific price to society for his alleged transgressions. He probably still has the ability and the talent, to be an effective baseball player for one or two more years. Will society and justice be served if he is sent to prison? What do you think?

Congratulations to USC's Mark Sanchez on his being drafted by the New York Jets. It seems like a perfect spot for him to play on the largest stage in the world. My instincts tell me that he will become one of sports superstars.

Speaking of the NFL Draft, you would think that all of the high draft choices would be successful, unless they were injured. The NFL Combine measures speed, strength, intelligence, coordination, reflexes, in addition to a complete medical checkup. Even after all that effort, most of them fail. If you know what else they should measure, please let them know. We will have about another week before we find out who will be the next opponent for the Lakers. This is too much free time for most of us.

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