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Sports Watching & Wondering

African American news from Pasadena - Sports Commentary - basketball and footballKobe Bryant must have been having a slow day. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand why he chose to spend his time by bashing Smush Parker, his former teammate. Parker was an undrafted player, who worked hard, and was finally signed by the Lakers. He was the starting point guard on that team, and while he was not an All-Star, he wasn't chopped liver, either. He also did not get the kind of money that Bryant earns, so it is difficult to understand why, after all this time, Bryant feels the need to trash him. Bryant's remarks would have you believe that Parker is the worst player that he ever played with. Since Parker earned the position of starting point guard, that probably isn't true.

After Parker heard about Bryant's latest criticism of him, he felt the need to respond, and he did. He pointed out that Bryant has demanded, and does receive, special privileges from the Lakers organization. According to Parker, Bryant and his bodyguards, have a special section on the team's airplane. In addition, according to Parker, most teammates are not allowed to approach him, unless he speaks to them first. Parker seems puzzled that Bryant, an international star, would even bother to continue this feud with him. There are others who wonder the same thing. Bryant must have something better that he could be doing.

Ray Lewis is 37 years old, and until last Sunday, he was a starting linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens. He has been playing that position for about 15 years. No player has ever surpassed his total dedication to his profession. In the game on Sunday, he had to be removed, because he tore his triceps and his right arm. I am sure that Lewis had feared that this day would come. He was one of the players who created an aura of invincibility. He wanted his opponents to think that he could never be injured, nor would he ever be tired or discouraged. He wanted them in fear him, and they were. His own teammates always wanted to do their best because they were also afraid of him. No one wants to be injured, but fortunately for him, it is an arm and not a leg. Lewis will have to miss the remainder of this season, but I absolutely expect him to play next year and for more than two or three years after that. I say this with respect, "The Man is a Beast."

Reggie Theus has been hired by the Lakers to be the head coach of the D-Fenders in the Development League. He grew up in Inglewood, and he played for Jerry Tarkanian's Runnin' Rebels. He did have a shot in the NBA as the head coach of the Sacramento Kings. He didn't do well, and he was fired. By the way, no one else has done any better with that job. With Reggie's great profile, I always thought he should be a leading man in the movies. Like Grant Hill, he is a classy guy, and this may be the beginning of a great opportunity for him.

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics are better organizations than the Dodgers and the Angels. The yearly payroll for the Athletics is around $50 million, which is considerably less than the $200 million payroll for either the Dodgers or the Angels. Somehow, that does not seem like it would be possible, but it is.

I tuned in Monday night football, primarily to watch Peyton "The Sheriff" Manning in his game against the San Diego Chargers. I was optimistic that he would have a great gameand that his team would come away with a victory. I was disappointed at halftime, when the score was 0-24, and I began to think that my expectations for him may have been too high. In other words, I thought that I may have been mistaken. I think that Manning may be the smartest football player who ever lived. In addition, he has the fiercest determination and the greatest will that I have ever seen. He also has longer practices for himself in his offensive team than anyone else in the NFL. I knew that he would rally his team and that they would come out fighting in the second half. However, I did not think that even the Sheriff put out a victory, but he did.

This come from behind victory has sent shockwaves through the entire Charger Organization. They will likely fire their general manager and head coach and, maybe, trade Philip Rivers, their All-Star quarterback. I mean the Broncos scored 35 unanswered points in the second half on their way to a 35-24 victory. This was one of the worst losses in the history of the NFL. I'll bet that the Sheriff celebrated on Tuesday morning by running a passing drill, with his team.

I am predicting that Lamar Odom will have a great year with the Clippers. The trade to Dallas removed his complacency. Also, it was difficult for him to play with the domineering Kobe Bryant. In addition, he now has a stable home life with Khloe Kardashian. She is his nutritionist, cheerleader, and critic. When he was single, he existed by eating candy on a random basis. So, if he happened to be loaded with sugar at game time, he might play well. But that is all in the past, and with Chris Paul to help him, it should be easier for him to score. He also realizes that if he plays well, he won't have to leave Los Angeles. That fact alone will keep him highly motivated.

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