Forbes magazine has ranked general managers from the four major sports from first to last, No. 1 to No. 98, and it's no surprise to see the Oakland Raiders' Michael Lombardi clinging to the bottom rung.
But Forbes has already raised eyebrows and ire with its list. Consider:
* Kevin McHale of the Minnesota Timberwolves is ranked No. 1 despite running a team that has made it past the first round of the NBA playoffs only once.
* NBA laughingstock Billy King of the Philadelphia 76ers is ranked No. 3.
* The top-rated general manager in Los Angeles is No. 18 Dave Taylor of the Kings, who was fired in April.
Among those local general managers still employed, the Ducks' Brian Burke is at No. 37, followed by the Clippers' Elgin Baylor at No. 46, the Angels' Bill Stoneman at No. 51 and the Lakers' Mitch Kupchak at No. 78. The Dodgers' Ned Colletti was not included because Forbes reviewed only general managers with at least three years' service.
Upon learning of McHale's top ranking, one Timberwolves player asked the Minneapolis Star Tribune, "No. 1 best or No. 1 worst?"
Who did Taylor replace as Kings general manager?
Then again, Matt Millen came in third to last
Forbes based its methodology mainly on two criteria: A general manager's winning percentage and cost containment as compared to his predecessor.
So if you happen to replace a general manager with a really lousy record and then come in to slash your team's budget, you will fare well in this system.
McHale often has been criticized for not surrounding Kevin Garnett with a better supporting cast. Yet, the Timberwolves have a .539 regular-season winning percentage during McHale's tenure after his predecessor had a .244 -- so McHale rockets to the top of Forbes' list.
It's a seriously flawed system, as the rankings of the Memphis Grizzlies' Jerry West (No. 33), St. Louis Cardinals' Walt Jocketty (No. 47) and the Detroit Red Wings' Ken Holland (No. 90) suggest.
The Atlanta Braves' John Schuerholz, ranked No. 42 despite having won 14 division titles in 15 seasons, told the Atlanta Constitution, "It is meaningless. Absolutely meaningless."
Blackhawks win something!
In a more scientifically sound study, the Chicago Blackhawks' uniform was voted best in the NHL, according to a Sports Illustrated poll of 357 of the league's players.
The Blackhawks received 28% of the vote, followed by three more members of the league's Original Six: Montreal Canadiens (16%), Red Wings (14%) and Toronto Maple Leafs (11%).
Recent expansion outfits the Nashville Predators (28%) and the Atlanta Thrashers (8%) ranked first and third in the worst-uniform category.
Tradition still matters inside NHL dressing rooms. Unlike inside the commissioner's office.
From the Do-As-I-Say-Not-What-I-Do file, Shaquille O'Neal will appear in a new TV reality show helping coach Florida schoolchildren to lose weight.
The series, to air on ABC during the summer, has yet to be named, although producers are said to be considering the following titles: "Big Brother Doesn't Know Best," "American Idles in the Drive-Through Lane," "My Big Fat Obnoxious Weight-Loss Coach," and "Ate My Mom's Dessert."
Sam McMaster, who traded Wayne Gretzky to St. Louis in 1996 and was fired in 1997.
The Clippers are holding a $10,000 free-throw contest for boys and girls aged 10 to 18. No word yet on whether O'Neal has been enlisted as the kids' coach.