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Text messages from press row . . .

May 07, 2008|JERRY CROWE

The wait is finally over for Kobe Bryant, officially the NBA's most valuable player as of Tuesday's announcement, but it never ended for Jerry West. . . .

Four times West finished second in the MVP balloting -- to Wilt Chamberlain in 1966, Willis Reed in 1970, Lew Alcindor in 1971 and, after the former UCLA center changed his name, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972. . . .

Says West, who was there to see Bryant presented an award the former Lakers great never won, "A couple times it was unbelievably disappointing. The year Willis Reed got it, I can't believe I wouldn't have gotten it." . . .

No other player was runner-up more often without winning than West. . . .

West's former teammate, Elgin Baylor, also never won the MVP award, finishing no closer than second to Bill Russell in 1963. . . .

Bryant before this year had never finished higher than third in the voting. . . .

ESPN's Greg Anthony says MVP runner-up Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets is "the best point guard I've ever seen, period." . . .

Better than Magic Johnson? . . .

Paul turned 23 on Tuesday. . . .

When Johnson turned 23 in August 1982, he already was a two-time NBA Finals MVP and had led the Lakers to NBA titles in two of his first three seasons. . . .

Note to the Utah Jazz: The Lakers under Phil Jackson have never lost a playoff series after winning the opening game, going 15-0. . . .

Nor did the Chicago Bulls under Jackson, going 24-0. . . .

Time stops for no man, but it stopped for the Detroit Pistons. . . .

In ESPN the Magazine's annual Fan Satisfaction Rankings, which slot 122 pro sports teams "based on what they give back to fans who invest their time and money in the organization," Henry and Susan Samueli's Ducks rank fifth, Arte Moreno's Angels sixth, Jerry Buss' Lakers 61st, Frank McCourt's Dodgers 77th, Donald Sterling's Clippers 82nd and Philip Anschutz's Kings 107th. . . .

The Angels rank No. 1 in overall customer satisfaction among major league baseball teams for the fifth year in a row, and the Ducks in the NHL and the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA are tops in their leagues. . . .

The NFL's Indianapolis Colts rank No. 1 overall. . . .

What can Big Brown do for you? . . .

Win the Triple Crown, perhaps. . . .

Former USC and Inglewood High linebacker Eric Scoggins, diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease 18 months ago, is enlisting the aid of friends, former teammates and fitness industry leader and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) awareness advocate Augie Nieto of Corona del Mar in raising funds to help find a cure for the disease. . . .

Says former NFL great Ronnie Lott, who played with Scoggins on USC's 1978 national championship team: "He's attacking and going after this disease the way he played the game. I'm proud of how he's taken up this stance." . . .

Four-time Olympian and two-time silver medalist Terry Schroeder, still searching for gold as coach of the U.S. Olympic water polo team, will be featured today on Channel 5's "KTLA Morning Show" and will send his ninth-ranked team against top-ranked Croatia in exhibition matches May 29 at Corona del Mar High and May 31 at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High. . . .

Organizers of "Scully & Wooden for the Kids," a benefit interview show featuring Vin Scully and John Wooden at the 7,100-seat Nokia Theatre on June 13, hope to raise upward of $1 million to split evenly between Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA and Childrens Hospital Los Angeles. . . .

Tickets, priced from $25 to $200, go on sale today through Ticketmaster. . . .

The Rocket is sorry, all right. . . .

Sorry he got caught. . . .

As Newsweek magazine notes, "Here's how bad it's gotten for Roger Clemens: All those alleged affairs come to light, including one with a country music star that began when she was 15 -- and no one is shocked." . . .

USC fans will recall that former Trojans tight end Fred Davis, absent from practice with the Washington Redskins on Sunday because he overslept on his third day in the NFL, was suspended by Pete Carroll for the 2005 Bowl Championship Series title game in Miami after he was late returning to Los Angeles after a Christmas break. . . .

The pillow-hugging Davis, a second-round draft choice who should consider investing in an alarm clock, gives new meaning to the term sleeper pick.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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