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The Inside Track | T.J. Simers

It's Too Bad Hall Has Given Up on Comedy

June 05, 2002|T.J. Simers

Kobe Bryant was at the microphone and journalist Arsenio Hall sat directly in front of Kobe at Tuesday's news conference so he could be seen. This was fine until Hall, still riding the success of the 1987 classic "Amazon Women on the Moon," opened his mouth.

In between questions from the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Hall asked Kobe, "Who gets double-teamed more, Shaq or Jenna Jameson?"

Kobe gave Hall the kind of look you'd expect from somebody who apparently has never rented a movie in his hotel room, and therefore had no idea Jameson was a porn star. For the record: I only knew because the people in the hotel room next to me on my last trip seemed real excited about getting the chance to watch one of her videos.

Hall, meanwhile, was left laughing at his own joke, making him the only one in the room who was laughing, and I would imagine that happens to him a lot.

*

YES SIR, the NBA Finals are underway, and every wacko, including Fox Sports Net's screaming Jack Haley wants to be a part of it, so it's going to be my task to document it all no matter what the personal sacrifice, including a trip later to gloomy New Jersey. And I thought it couldn't get any worse than playing 18 holes with sports editor Bill Dwyre behind a fivesome of women.

It's going to be Lakers all the time now for at least the next week, and if that means interviewing Salma Hayek at every game, I would remind Ed Norton that's my job so back off.

Memo to J-Lo, Britney and Charlize Theron: If you would like to meet me, this is probably your best chance, as long as you can get Laker tickets. As for Mimi Rogers, I could probably get you Laker tickets if you want them.

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THE ANGELS seemed to take it very well Tuesday when I stopped by Edison Field to tell them I wouldn't be around for awhile. In fact Dennis Cook and Tim Salmon were so wrapped up in Maury Povich's "Shocking Moments Caught on Video," I'm not even sure they were paying attention when I bid everyone good luck. That reminds me, though, if Salmon ever gets to .300, I'll send video to Povich.

I asked Tim Mead, the team's spokesman, if the organization had given any thought to canceling games when they conflict with the NBA Finals, but I forgot the Angels are used to playing with no one paying attention to them.

The Dodgers are in Colorado, but when I heard Kevin Brown hurt his back, I was just hoping it wasn't because he was jumping for joy at word that I was going to be preoccupied with the Lakers.

To be honest, I'm not sure I could have thrown my heart and soul into the playoffs if there was still a chance the Sparks were going to go undefeated this season, but now there's no reason to watch their games the rest of the year.

Someone told me they televise the Stanley Cup finals, but I figured they were just putting me on. I was holding out hope that Dwyre might send me to them, but Lonnie White gets all the plum assignments.

My biggest disappointment is letting Mark Paredes down. Paredes, the press attache for the Consulate General of Israel in L.A., extended an invitation to join him Friday at 4:30 a.m. to watch the World Cup match between England and Argentina because I presume he couldn't find anyone else to go with him.

I offered Paredes my wife, but I guess he must have heard what she's like early in the morning because I haven't heard back from him.

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THE NEXT week or so is going to be just miserable because all these sports writers from New York are going to be around, and they either take things very seriously or make things up so they get a big headline on the back of the paper. None of them have a sense of humor, so imagine spending a whole week in close quarters with a bunch of USC fans.

Throw in Arsenio, Haley huffing and puffing about his days sitting on the same bench with Phil Jackson, lost time in New Jersey and I'm going to be ready for a vacation after the Laker victory parade. By the time I get back, I'm afraid the World Cup will be over. I just hope the same can't be said for the Angels' and Dodgers' seasons.

*

ANGEL MANAGER Mike Scioscia had his pitchers take batting practice in preparation for playing the National League, but even though Troy Percival began his career in the minor leagues as a catcher, he will not be allowed to pick up a bat.

"They saw him hit when he was a catcher; that's why he's a pitcher," Scioscia said.

Percival is 0 for 1 in the majors. He tried bunting. On the first pitch his hand got stuck in pine tar. Strike one. On the second pitch, "I turned and I swore the ball was coming right between my eyes," he said. Strike two.

On the third pitch, he put the bat out, but got nothing but strike three.

*

I FIGURE the Nets will double-team Kobe, try to keep the role players in check while letting Shaq dominate inside. I've got the Lakers winning four straight, and some folks in Sacramento moving to L.A. so they can cheer for a champion.

*

TODAY'S LAST word comes in an e-mail from J. Scott Davis:

"Your article on Phil Jackson was not well thought out, and lacked basic journalism skills. Jackson was pushing his players to dig deeper in the draining series against the Kings and not because your colleague, Bill Plaschke, instructed him to do so. I request you apologize to Phil, the Lakers, and us readers."

I'm sorry, I forget sometimes how smart some of you are.

*

T.J. Simers can be reached at t.j.simers@latimes.com.

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