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JERRY CROWE

NAACP explains why it is honoring Clippers owner Donald Sterling

Text messages from press row . . .

May 06, 2009|JERRY CROWE

Something's out of whack. . . .

Clippers owner Donald Sterling, accused of racism and embracing a "vision of a Southern plantation-type structure" in a lawsuit filed in February by Elgin Baylor, will be given a lifetime achievement award next week by the NAACP. . . .

Leon Jenkins, president of the Los Angeles branch of the civil rights organization, says of the much-maligned Sterling, "He has a unique history of giving to the children of L.A.," revealing that the owner donates anywhere from 2,000 to 3,000 tickets a game to youth groups for nearly every Clippers home game. . . .

Noting that the NAACP had made plans to honor Sterling before Baylor filed suit, Jenkins says, "We can't speak to the allegations, but what we do know is that for the most part [Sterling] has been very, very kind to the minority youth community." . . .

Baylor didn't mention that. . . .

Looking on the bright side, at least Kobe Bryant and the Lakers didn't have to worry about blowing a big lead Monday. . . .

Where's their fire? . . .

Before Monday, the Lakers were 10-1 against the other three teams remaining in the Western Conference playoffs. . . .

So much for the regular season. . . .

There's never been anyone quite like Yao Ming, who belies the notion that gargantuan men can't make free throws. . . .

Look-alikes: Reserve guard Aaron Brooks of the Houston Rockets and comedian/Lakers fan Chris Rock. . . .

Landslide winner LeBron James is the 10th NBA most valuable player who also was the top pick in the draft, following in the footsteps of Oscar Robertson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Magic Johnson, Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Tim Duncan. . . .

The only MVPs who were not top-10 picks, by the way, were Julius Erving, Karl Malone, Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant. . . .

Why don't NHL coaches grow playoff beards? . . .

Manny Ramirez and the Dodgers seem to have switched places with the Angels from a year ago, the Dodgers threatening to run away with their watered-down division and the Angels looking as if they might be headed for a season-long struggle. . . .

The Sporting News power poll ranks the Dodgers No. 1 and the Angels No. 24 among the 30 major-league teams. . . .

Carlos Beltran and the 2003 Kansas City Royals, the last major-league team to win its first 11 home games before the Dodgers did it this year, wound up with only a .500 home record. . . .

For Cinco de Mayo, USA Today blogger Reid Cherner made a list of his favorite athletes of Mexican heritage: Fernando Valenzuela, Oscar De La Hoya, Anthony Munoz, Lee Trevino, Nancy Lopez and Lorena Ochoa. . . .

Others he could have listed: two-time Super Bowl winner Jim Plunkett; tennis great Pancho Gonzales; former NFL player and coach Tom Flores; Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Donna de Varona; pro football Hall of Famer Tom Fears; and Ted Williams, whose maternal grandparents were born in Mexico. . . .

Speaking of the San Diego-bred Williams, the last major leaguer to hit .400 once reportedly noted, "If I was being paid $30,000 a year, the very least I could do was hit .400." . . .

Since UCLA's BCS-busting victory over John David Booty and USC in 2006, the Bruins have had four players taken in the NFL draft, none in the first two rounds. . . .

The Trojans have had 26, 15 in the first two rounds. . . .

Pete Carroll, a spectator at Saturday's pro surfing contest in San Clemente, says the Trojans have a capable surfer of their own in Zack Heberer, a 6-foot-5, 300-pound offensive guard. . . .

Is there a safer bet than four-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal on clay? . . .

The late Jack Kemp was the starting quarterback for the Chargers in 1960, their only season in Los Angeles, and led them to the first American Football League championship game. . . .

They lost to the Houston Oilers. . . .

Danny Gans, a hugely popular Las Vegas headliner and one-time baseball prospect who died unexpectedly last week, played at Torrance High, Mt. San Antonio College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo before batting .234 in 35 games as a third baseman for the Victoria Mussels of the Class-A Northwest League in 1978. . . .

Several readers e-mailed to nominate the late Bill King as history's most underrated sports announcer, Bill Weissich of San Rafael, Calif., noting that the former Raiders, A's and Warriors play-by-play man could "paint a word picture in all three major sports as well as Rembrandt could paint a portrait." . . .

Holy Toledo!

--

jerome.crowe@latimes.com

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