Bill Plaschke's fantasy that has Shaquille O'Neal remaining with the Lakers over the last seven years of his career [June 3] is good as far as it goes, but there's a problem with the math.
In the Plaschke version, Shaq retires with eight Lakers championship rings. That means the Lakers fail to go all the way twice during this seven-year stretch. C'mon Bill, what kind of a fantasy is that?! Let's make it seven straight. Bring that number of rings to 10 — one for each finger.
Now a truly mature Shaq, Kobe, and front office would have worked together to ensure better outcomes for Shaq's actual last two seasons with the Lakers (2002-03 and 2003-04). Add two more championships, and total becomes 12.
Phil Jackson's undisputed legacy notwithstanding, a fully self-actualized Shaq and Kobe wouldn't have needed to wait for his arrival to start racking up titles. Put three more on the board, and we're up to 15.
It is widely acknowledged that bringing Shaq to L.A. is the crowning achievement of Jerry West's brilliant off-court basketball career. But what if prior to that the Lakers had the foresight (and a little bit of luck) to get him as a rookie? Let's cut right to it, shall we? In this alternate reality Shaq leads the Lakers to an amazing 19 championships in his 19-year career.
But wait, don't stop there! In this putative Plaschke parallel universe O'Neal's achievements at LSU are undone as a result of the Lakers scouting him as early as the Showtime era, inducing him to go pro straight out of high school, and getting him either directly or by trade prior to the 1989-90 season. Yep, you guessed it — 22 straight titles for the Shaq-led Lakers from 1990 to 2011!
Really Bill, if you're gonna dream, at least dream big.
Brian Shaw was a class act for the Lakers, both as a coach and a player. But his statement about "being out on the street," (after 11 years and five championships) was not the best choice of words. I trust he has never been out on Figueroa before or after a game, dodging the street people and panhandlers who truly do live on the street. He will also not be lying among the refuse like Bill Plaschke so stupidly states in the same column. Come on, Bill, get real, and stop being so dramatic!
I don't know if all of America is really rooting for the Mavericks to beat the Heat, but it certainly appears as though the officials and ABC's Mike Breen are. Talk about getting calls, I was called for fouling Dirk Nowitzki when I walked too close to the television set.
As for Breen, it's hard to believe a major network has a role for him and his squeals of delight every time Dallas makes a big basket.
Personally, I don't care for either team. Can we start the lockout today?
Rick Van Kirk
In the Showtime era we had "Big Game James." In the LeBron era we have "Little Game James."
An interesting question came to mind while I watched Game 3 of the NBA Finals. How is it that the undisputed best player in the world can be the second-best player on his own team?
Maury D. Benemie
Lebron is MIA(MI)
Take it away
The sports world is going to remember the USC Trojans as 2004 national champions just like Richard Nixon is remembered as the 37th president of the United States.
If I had a dollar for every USC fan who claims, "But, everyone does it," I could put a big dent in the national debt.
I swam for Stanford. We have always followed the rules. USC did not, and I am laughing at how it is working out for them now that they are forced to follow the rules like the rest of us.
According to the NCAA and the BCS, the 2004 national championship did not happen. Does this mean that everyone that attended is going to be refunded for airfare, hotels and tickets? In the real world, making someone pay for something that does not exist is "money fraud," a felony. Of course it's obvious that the NCAA and BCS do not exist in the real world.
USC loses the 2004 BCS football title. One question: How do you lose something that is mythical?
So, who handled their problem worse — Ohio State or Anthony Weiner?
Stop crying, Chris Dufresne ["June Gloom," June 5]. There is a ray of light if you happen to look at SoCal high school track and field, which boasts more top sprinters this year than any state in the country, including Covina's Remontay McClain and top hurdler Jonathan Cabral of Agoura. Pro and college are not the only games in town.
Imagine this conversation between Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio
Babe: "When are you going you be back in the lineup, Joe?"
Joe: "Well, Babe, this right hip flexor will keep me on the DL another couple of weeks. When are you due back?"