Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, that is the question confronting voters for this season's NBA most valuable player. James is the front-runner and last week received four votes of approval -- a clean sweep -- from TNT's NBA studio crew.
"It's an easy pick," Kenny Smith said. " . . . LeBron James has squeezed all the talent out of himself and his teammates; he's made everyone better. He's gotten 66 wins, the best record in basketball."
Chris Webber: "Kobe is the best player, but this is LeBron James' league starting now and forever more. He is the first player in sports that has exceeded all the hype; he gets better and [he is] my MVP.
Charles Barkley: "LeBron James. When he came into the NBA, I didn't think he could live up to the hype, but he excelled past the hype. Kobe Bryant, you're in the front seat, but this boy is right behind you; he is unbelievable."
Which was the last NHL team to fold?
Welcome to the club
Barkley said he was happy to hear that TBS has hired David Wells as a baseball analyst.
"I'm so glad we hired him. Somebody fatter than me," Barkley said.
Ernie Johnson: "I don't know about that; I was in the studio with him a few weeks ago and I don't know if that's true or not."
Barkley: "I've seen him in high definition. He's fat."
Just bring back the 1970s, baby
What next for John Madden, who on Thursday announced his retirement from broadcasting?
Would you believe . . . a return to the Oakland Raiders?
David White of the San Francisco Chronicle addressed the speculation that Al Davis would hire Madden in some front-office capacity.
"Raiders owner Al Davis once vowed to hire someone with local ties to help run the football side of things, someone with a recognizable name in these parts.
"Maybe that mystery hire will be John Madden, now that the former Raiders coach is leaving the television broadcast booth. . . .
"If Davis could bring back Art Shell for a second coaching tour, there's no reason to think Madden can't rejoin the payroll as a right-hand man. Let the Madden Bus Watch begin."
The Cleveland Barons, in 1978. The team was formerly known as the California Seals, the Oakland Seals and the California Golden Seals.
Oregon football Coach Chip Kelly, to the Eugene Register-Guard, saying he's no fan of Twitter: "Who cares what I had for breakfast? . . . You think a recruit's going to come to Oregon because I ate Oreos?"