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JERRY CROWE

Kobe Bryant goes to the school of all-time scorers

Text messages from press row . . .

February 27, 2009|JERRY CROWE

Kobe Bryant, new this month to the top 20 on the NBA's all-time scoring list, also is part of an even more select group. . . .

Only Bryant and Moses Malone, among the league's top two dozen all-time scorers, did not play college basketball. . . .

Kevin Garnett should soon join them. . . .

Riverside Poly's Reggie Miller, by the way, is the only top-20 scorer who graduated from a California high school. . . .

Cheryl Miller's younger brother was a prolific scorer and a deadeye three-point shooter, of course, but he might have a hard time cracking a UCLA all-time starting five. . . .

Bruins basketball alumni include three championship-winning national players of the year at forward in Sidney Wicks, Marques Johnson and Ed O'Bannon, two at center in Lew Alcindor and Bill Walton and one at guard in Walt Hazzard. . . .

Another ex-UCLA guard, Gail Goodrich, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. . . .

Miller soon will be too. . . .

Watching Michael Jordan try to hit curveballs was painful, but watching LeBron James actually play for the Cleveland Browns instead of dreaming about it in a commercial would be a gas. . . .

The NFL's leader in all-purpose yards over the last three seasons is lightning quick and played his college ball in Los Angeles, but he is not named Reggie Bush. . . .

Take a bow, Maurice Jones-Drew, newly installed as the Jacksonville Jaguars' starting tailback and reportedly soon to be rewarded with a lucrative long-term contract. . . .

The race for home-court advantage throughout the NBA playoffs is close enough that an otherwise meaningless Clippers victory over the Boston Celtics could prove monumental to the Lakers. . . .

Was it only a coincidence that on a night when Baron Davis made more than half his shots for the first time in nearly a year, the Clippers upset the defending NBA champions? . . .

Arte Moreno always seems to say and do the right thing. . . .

Agent Scott Boras, noting that Manny Ramirez would be ready to go on opening day whenever he signs, tells USA Today, "When you've got that good of a cake, it takes little frosting." . . .

Huh? . . .

Reader Jonah Harrell of Redondo Beach e-mails to suggest that there was a competitor who meant more to his sport than Tiger Woods, "A fellow by the name of Wayne Gretzky." . . .

With all-session tickets for next week's conference tournament in Las Vegas already sold out, West Coast Conference officials probably wonder why they didn't make the move to Sin City sooner. . . .

The Pacific 10 Conference tournament has never sold out, albeit in larger venues than the one hosting the WCC event. . . .

Jermaine O'Neal of the Miami Heat, reminded last week that as an 18-year-old rookie with the Portland Trail Blazers he starred in a television commercial with an 8-year-old local boy named Kevin Love: "That makes me feel a little bit old." . . .

Reader Jerry Sondler of Warwick, R.I., a transplanted Angeleno, e-mails to suggest that a Mt. Rushmore of California sports should not exclude Sandy Koufax and Jerry West, arguing that few consider Woods' California connection when watching him play and calling Jackie Robinson a historical figure "solely because of what he accomplished in New York." . . .

Colleague Pete Thomas suggests a Mt. Rushmore of California lifestyle sports: skateboarding icon Tony Hawk, Olympic gold medal-winning snowboarder Shaun White, beach volleyball legend Karch Kiraly and former world surfing champion Tom Curren. . . .

White's flowing locks would be an engraving challenge. . . .

The late George Toley, whose USC tennis teams won 10 NCAA titles, collaborated with veteran sportswriter Joe Jares on a newly published autobiography before dying last March. . . .

Apologies to Vitali and Vladimir Klitschko, who not only won world heavyweight titles but, like former World Boxing Assn. champion James "Bonecrusher" Smith, are college graduates. . . .

Both, in fact, hold doctorates. . . .

Corey Nakatani scored 11 points Thursday night but a team of Santa Anita jockeys lost to a team of seventh- and eighth-graders from Holy Angels school in Arcadia, 35-19, in a charity basketball game at Pasadena La Salle High. . . .

John Wooden, who while coaching at Indiana State in 1947 refused an invitation to the national tournament because African American players were barred from the competition, will be inducted next month into the NAIA Hall of Fame. . . .

Wooden left for UCLA in 1948. . . .

Speaking of former UCLA coaches, Red Sanders was an avid golfer who quipped when asked his handicap, "Lack of ability."

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jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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