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JERRY CROWE

Text messages from press row . . .

June 26, 2008|JERRY CROWE

Shaquille O'Neal's childish mocking of Kobe Bryant in an amateurish freestyle rap video was strongly rebuked by a racially sensitive sheriff in Arizona and harshly reviewed, no doubt, by a stupefied former teammate in Newport Beach. . . .

Younger hip-hop fans probably thought, Shaq is a rapper? . . .

According to Nielsen SoundScan, which monitors U.S. record sales, Shaq-Fu's six albums have sold a total of 20 copies this year. . . .

As in, an average of fewer than four copies per CD. . . .

Rest easy, Lil Wayne. . . .

By the way, Newsweek magazine's "conventional wisdom" critique of Bryant's NBA Finals performance cut deeper than O'Neal's: "Fumed in Game 1, choked in 4, vanished in 6. Guess this settles that Kobe-Jordan debate." . . .

Ouch. . . .

Seven former Pacific 10 Conference players made the NBA Finals this month and seven more -- USC's O.J. Mayo, UCLA's Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook, Stanford's Brook and Robin Lopez, Arizona's Jerryd Bayless and Cal's Ryan Anderson -- are projected to be first-round picks tonight. . . .

Also projected to be a first-round pick is JaVale McGee, a 7-footer from Nevada and son of Pam McGee, who teamed with twin sister, Paula, and Cheryl Miller to lead USC to NCAA women's basketball titles in 1983 and 1984. . . .

Paula at the time was Darryl Strawberry's girlfriend. . . .

JaVale McGee's father is George Montgomery, who was a second-round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers in 1985 but never played in the NBA. . . .

Former USC forward Brian Scalabrine of the Boston Celtics wasn't the only bench-riding athlete with Southland ties who donned a uniform for a championship-clinching celebration after a game in which he did not dress. . . .

Ageless defenseman Chris Chelios, who summers in Malibu, did the same with the Detroit Red Wings after sitting out the Stanley Cup finals. . . .

Barry Melrose, hired this week to coach the Tampa Bay Lightning, has always been better known for his mullet hairstyle than his coaching acumen. . . .

The Angels' best-in-the-majors road record is wonderful, but the question remains for Vladimir Guerrero & Co.: Can they win at Boston in October? . . .

This year, it looks like they might have a chance. . . .

The Dodgers, who play host to the Angels in a three-game series starting Friday at Dodger Stadium, have won the season series from their Southland rivals only once since 1999 and lost two of three games last month at Anaheim. . . .

Encouraging news for Tiger Woods, but when was the last time a doctor said he was displeased with a surgery he had just finished performing? . . .

Paola Moreno, a senior on USC's NCAA champion women's golf team this spring, and incoming Trojans freshman Jennifer Song are among the amateurs competing this week in the U.S. Women's Open at Edina, Minn. . . .

Apologies to Encino Crespi High, which produced a World Series most valuable player in Rick Dempsey of the Baltimore Orioles, and L.A. High, which groomed a Super Bowl MVP in Larry Brown of the Dallas Cowboys. . . .

Oakland Raiders fans, of course, remember Brown for parlaying his big game in January 1996 -- two interceptions leading to second-half touchdowns -- into a five-year, $12.5-million free-agent contract with Al Davis' team. . . .

Injuries limited the cornerback to 12 games in two seasons with the Raiders and he was out of the NFL before his 30th birthday, ESPN later ranking the Raiders' landing of him the worst free-agent signing in sports history. . . .

Comedian George Carlin, who died Sunday, argued that the only truly legitimate sports were baseball, basketball and football, noting that all others should be relabeled as games or activities. . . .

Of the game favored by Roger Federer and Venus Williams, Carlin said, "Technically, tennis is an advanced form of pingpong. In fact, tennis is pingpong played while standing on the table. Great concept, not a sport." . . .

The comedian dismissed swimming as "a way to keep from drowning" and said of running, "Running isn't a sport because anybody can do it. My mother can run. You don't see her on the cover of Sports Illustrated, do you?"

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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