It's getting harder to get a meaningful resolution out of our NBA heroes.
Not that it will keep me from persisting, as long as I have a column due that week.
David Stern: I don't hear you pestering me about seeding anymore. We could have the Lakers and Celtics in the Finals again! Did you see that 5.3 rating we got for Christmas? Higher than the average Fox got in prime time for the NLCS?
Me: You're not rooting, are you?
Stern: Moi? Just to show how nonpartisan I am, I put some Army general in charge of our referees. When I interviewed him, I asked what he knew about the Lakers-Celtics rivalry. He said, "Who are the Lakers and Celtics?"
Me: You mean Army Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Ron Johnson. Didn't he just let the Trail Blazers score a basket against the Celtics with six men on the court?
Stern: I talked to him about that. He said, "How many are there supposed to be?" I know, I may have overdone it.
Phil Jackson: What, me worry?
Me: I just talked to the commissioner and I can see why. Still, you couldn't have been telling your guys everything was all right two weeks ago.
Phil: I can't reveal things that go on behind closed doors until the release of "The Last Season, Part IV" (What Me Worry Publications, $24.95).
Kobe Bryant: I just want another NBA title to go with my other three and my Olympic gold medal for being part of the greatest team in the world.
Pau Gasol: I just want an NBA title to go with the silver medal they gave us, despite the fact we were better than the so-called best team in the world.
Kobe: Come again? We beat you.
Pau: You and those three referees now living in retirement on the French Riviera.
Shaquille O'Neal: Yo, Kobe, if you get tired of playing with Twiggy, just clear the way and I'm there.
Kobe: See if you can have Phil orchestrate that for you.
LeBron James: I resolve to consider signing an extension with the Cavaliers this summer!
Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert: I told you LeBron doesn't want to leave! The media made it up!
LeBron: Thanks, Dan. You know I'm all about loyalty. Of course, I'll also consider not signing. I'm all about business too.
Jay-Z: I can't believe you would go to the Knicks, with me owning a piece of the Nets and all our dreams about revitalizing Brooklyn! Beyonce is heartbroken!
LeBron: You're part of the deal: Chris Bosh and me, on the condition the Knicks sell you 5%.
Jay-Z: We're so there.
Stephon Marbury: I'm willing to sacrifice to end this impasse. The Knicks can pay me half the $21 million I have coming and the rest to the Starbury Foundation.
New York Times: "Former Knick Says He'll Split Difference"
New York Daily News: "Pariahbury's New Scam!"
New York Post: "Steph Wants to Donate $10.5 Mil to Charity! (exclusive to the New York Post)"
Knicks President Donnie Walsh: I never thought I'd miss Indianapolis in winter.
Marbury: That's the point.
Baron Davis: I knew going to the Clippers was the right thing because my pal, Elton Brand, said it was cool. Isn't that right, Elton? Elton?
Elton Brand: The next time David Falk says, "Are you going to let the Clippers disrespect you like that?" I'll pinch his bald head off at the neck.
Baron: Well, it'll still be all right.
Stephen Jackson: That's not what you told me; you said you wanted to go back to the Warriors if there was any room on our plane after the Lakers game.
Baron: Ixnay on the andor-cay.
Jackson: He means nix on the candor. OK, we'll keep this on the QT, like the process of evaluation that our front office is undergoing.
Chris Mullin: What process? I'm the GM; shouldn't someone have told me about it? Don Nelson and I just turned this thing around, didn't we, Nellie? Nellie?
Nelson: We need to talk.
Mullin: About what?
Nelson: I don't want to say, but bring your playbook.
Corey Maggette: I still moved up in the standings. At least, as of this morning and as long as I'm still here.
Baron: No, really, I want to stay!
Mike Dunleavy: And I want you to stay. Of course, I'd like to stay too.
Donald T. Sterling: I can't believe you have the nerve to ask me for another resolution. I did what you said, trust my professionals. What's your next bright idea, put everyone on a bus and drive it off the Santa Monica Pier?
Me: I've got to give it to you. You gave Dunleavy four years and $22 million. Now you can't fire him if you want to.
Sterling: You're telling me?
Doc Rivers: When your Brownie Scouts are in Boston, we're going to sneak three players in as soon as they throw the ball up, get a quick hoop, let the Lakers shoot a free throw, start with a 2-1 lead and, hopefully, win by a point.
Me: Wouldn't that be mean?
Rivers: That's the point.