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JERRY CROWE

How did Elgin Baylor take it for so long?

Text messages from press row...

February 13, 2009|JERRY CROWE

If working for Donald Sterling was so intolerable, why did Elgin Baylor stick around for 22 years? . . .

One of the NBA's longest-running mysteries was how Baylor managed to hang onto his job with the Clippers for so long despite a track record showing him to be one of the least successful general managers in the history of pro sports. . . .

Baylor's attorney, Carl Douglas, was part of O.J. Simpson's "Dream Team" and is not to be confused with the one-hit-wonder Jamaican singer of the same name who in 1974 had a chart-topping disco-era smash with "Kung Fu Fighting." . . .

The Manny Ramirez story is about a month past tiresome. . . .

A whopping 76% of NBA players responding to a Sports Illustrated poll picked Kobe Bryant as the player they would most want taking the last shot with a game on the line. . . .

No other player received more than 3% of the vote. . . .

In the three seasons Alex Rodriguez says he used performance-enhancing drugs, his Texas Rangers finished a combined 54 games under .500. . . .

Citing Brett Favre's toughness and grit, former NFL quarterback Trent Dilfer calls the three-time most valuable player "the greatest football player ever to play quarterback." . . .

Ben Howland on the sideline -- crouched in a defensive stance, arms akimbo -- looks as if he'd love to be playing. . . .

Phil Jackson on the sideline -- placidly perched upon his cushion -- looks as if the thought crossed his mind. . . .

Former UCLA star Jason Kapono of the Toronto Raptors, who has led the NBA in three-point shooting accuracy each of the last two seasons, is 6 feet 8 but has never dunked in an NBA game, according to STATS LLC. . . .

In what would be a welcome change, Jack Johnson and the Kings might actually make a playoff push this season. . . .

Something to keep in mind when considering college football recruiting rankings: ESPN did not rank Jacquizz Rodgers among the top 100 prep running backs in the Class of 2008. . . .

Pete Carroll and USC might beg to differ. . . .

If Tiger Woods' newborn son, Charlie, follows in his father's footsteps, he should make his television debut in 2011. . . .

Woods was 2 when he was matched against Bob Hope in a putting contest on "The Mike Douglas Show" in 1978. . . .

Song Sung Blue: Give Walter O'Malley an assist for launching one of the most successful careers in music history, New Yorker Neil Diamond noting during Grammy weekend, "I started taking guitar lessons when the Brooklyn Dodgers left Brooklyn. I was so depressed, so my parents bought [me] a guitar." . . .

Suggesting that Michael Phelps would make an ideal mate for Oscar-nominated actress Anne Hathaway, matchmaker Patti Novak tells USA Today, "Recent blog-blunder aside, Phelps is the male counterpart to our American Sweetheart." . . .

Maybe she meant "bong blunder." . . .

Many of the UCLA students who will walk with Troy Aikman in graduation ceremonies this spring were either in diapers or not yet born when Aikman last played for the Bruins in 1988. . . .

Longtime boxing promoter Don Fraser, who launched the still-running fight series at the Irvine Marriott in 1985, will be inducted into the "Battle in the Ballroom" Hall of Fame next Thursday. . . .

The Northern Trust Open, formerly known as the L.A. Open and returning to Riviera Country Club next week, debuted in 1926 but has been won by left-handers only three times. . . .

Mike Weir won in 2003 and 2004, Phil Mickelson a year ago. . . .

Not to stereotype Southern Californians as laid back, but a man attending Saturday's UCLA-Notre Dame basketball game at Pauley Pavilion was dressed in a bathrobe. . . .

Of course, with a 10 a.m. start, he could have been wearing pajamas. . . .

Pacific 10 Conference basketball may be down this season -- OK, way down -- but having two teams in the top 10 isn't bad. . . .

Oh, wait, that's women's basketball. . . .

Speaking of which, former USC standout Cynthia Cooper will hear today whether she is a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's induction Class of 2009. . . . .

Among the other first-time nominees is Michael Jordan. . . .

Longtime boxing writer and historian Bert Sugar, recalling an old friend: "Jim Murray's greatest line was, 'I wonder why I never know what round it is when the round-card girl goes by?' " . . .

Murray, who died in 1998, would have turned 90 this year.

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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