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JERRY CROWE

Cheech & Chong see Knicks go up in smoke because of Kobe Bryant's performance.

Text messages from press row . . .

February 05, 2009|JERRY CROWE

For Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, attending Kobe Bryant's 61-point performance Monday night in Madison Square Garden probably only heightened their "Basketball Jones." . . .

Speaking of Cheech & Chong, Michael Phelps' reputation -- like the Olympic swimming champion himself -- has taken a hit. . . .

His high-calorie diet, at least, needs no further explanation. . . .

Bryant, critiquing the ambience at Staples Center, tells Marc Echo of Complex magazine, "You walk in, it's like the 1980s 'cause they're playin' Cyndi Lauper and all this other kind of corny stuff. . . . The music needs to be upgraded. Severely." . . .

No more "I Love L.A."? . . .

For Andrew Bynum, Monday was, indeed, Groundhog Day. . . .

The Minnesota Timberwolves' recent surge surely piqued the interest of the Clippers, who are owed a first-round pick from the Timberwolves as part of the Sam Cassell-Marko Jaric trade but won't get it until 2012 unless it's not a top-10 pick. . . .

Bob Knight, strongly hinting that he's interested in returning to coaching, is 14 years younger than Joe Paterno. . . .

For the Dodgers and Angels, the departures -- Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe, Francisco Rodriguez, Brad Penny, Jon Garland, Jeff Kent, Garret Anderson, Takashi Saito -- have far outpaced the arrivals this winter. . . .

At least Rafael Furcal was retained, Brian Fuentes was signed and, for the time being, Manny Ramirez is still in play. . . .

Ben Roethlisberger couldn't have picked a better time -- or target -- for his first Super Bowl touchdown pass. . . .

Three of the last five Super Bowl MVPs -- Deion Branch, Hines Ward and Santonio Holmes -- have been receivers. . . .

Speaking of Super Bowl MVPs, former UCLA quarterback Troy Aikman will be honored at halftime of the Bruins' basketball game against Notre Dame at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday. . . .

Timm Rosenbach, hired this week as offensive coordinator at New Mexico State, helped Washington State knock Aikman's Bruins from atop the polls in 1988. . . .

Kurt Warner has put Matt Leinart in the same position Leinart put John David Booty a few years ago, waiting on pins and needles to hear if the starting quarterback plans to return. . . .

Responding to a suggestion that, until the team's recent run of success, the best-known Arizona Cardinal may have been a fictional character played by Cuba Gooding Jr. in "Jerry Maguire," reader Eric Parmater e-mails to suggest, "Patrick Daniel Tillman is the most famous Arizona Cardinal." . . .

Why doesn't UCLA start an annual basketball rivalry with a perennial power such as Duke or North Carolina? . . .

Former Lakers center Vlade Divac averaged under 12 points a game in six seasons with the Sacramento Kings, but that won't stop the Kings from retiring his number next month. . . .

Roger Federer continues to lose ground in his rivalry with Rafael Nadal, but as John McEnroe noted this week, "If he keeps crying, he's really going to get a lot of people behind him." . . .

One more Grand Slam event title would give Federer 14, tying Pete Sampras' record, but Serena Williams would need 14 more to match Margaret Smith Court's women's record of 24. . . .

Striking out on his own, former Dodgers outfielder Billy Ashley co-stars in a new reality series, "Househusbands of Hollywood," premiering in August on Fox Reality Channel. . . .

Ashley is married to celebrity makeup artist Lisa Ashley. . . .

Despite posting 12 consecutive rounds in the 60s, David Toms remains winless on the PGA Tour since 2006. . . .

If Ginger Ninja is the alternative, perhaps action sports icon Shaun White should embrace the seemingly more marketable nickname that he despises: Flying Tomato. . . .

Larry King is the emcee and Dodgers announcer Charley Steiner the host for tonight's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities Los Angeles awards banquet at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel. . . .

Information: (310) 854-6000. . . .

Reading between the lines after this week's parade, fark.com had the headline, "Steelers fans gather downtown to celebrate title, realize that they're still in Pittsburgh and go home dejected."

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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