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Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant, right, fist-bumps his daughter Gianna after the last NBA basketball game of his career, against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, April 13, 2016, in Los Angeles.Bryant scored 60 points as the Lakers won 101-96. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

From JoeDon
 
Is Kobe best honored by no NBA Player to ever wear #24 again? Or would it honor Kobe more by seeing one #24 jersey on EVERY team EVERY season?
 
I love the way MLB honors Jackie Robinson by all players wearing #42 each year on Tax Day – April 15.
 
What's the most endearing way to honor the memory of a GOAT? Retired jersey? Statue? Award Trophy in his/her honor? Scholarship?
 
Should Kobe's sudden passing spur sports franchises to make some sort of ceremony soon after retirement?

 

JoeDon

I do not believe that the NBA should retire the 24 for every team.

First, there is the comparison angle. If that's what they do for Kobe, what are they going to do when Bill Russell dies? Or Kareem? Or MJ, Magic or Larry?

Or any number of other dudes who have had way more of an impact on the game than Bryant did.

The other part of that is the undeniable facts involved in the incident in Colorado in 2003. This is not an effort to speak ill of the dead, but there were some bad acts back then. Yes, Kobe appeared to redirect his life in terms of family and honor after that, and none of us want to be judged by our worst acts or days.

But if the gesture by the league as a whole is supremely grand, well, you run the risk of being the league that honored someone with a sexual assault allegation in his past.

I also love when baseball puts on the 42 for Jackie Robinson, but I hope that stays true only to Jackie, because no one has had a bigger social impact on our culture through sports than Jackie. He needs and deserves the biggest tribute, in my view.

I am interested to see how this All-Star rules change — there's more here — works because that could be something.

I think there could be an award for competitiveness and desire in Kobe's honor, too. And yes, there will be a statue of Bryant.

(That said, I still think pausing before honoring our retired sports stars is the better play, because while a sudden and tragic accident like this with Kobe means we do not get the chance to say goodbye, there are way more Paterno realizations or Cosby realizations that happen later in life than these.)

As always, great question. (And yes, I got several great questions I could not get to this week. Sorry. I will add a hoops pick and the Rushmores later today. Deal? Deal.  

 

From Harry

Did you watch the "Jeopardy!" battle of champions? I was surprised you didn't write more about it because didn't you say at one point you liked game shows? Have you ever done a Rushmore of Game Shows?

Harry

I watched most of the "Jeopardy!" showdown between Ken and James. (The other guy felt like the ultimate third wheel and in some ways got in James' way and paved the path for Ken's win.)

In truth, I was not as entertained by the "Jeopardy!" bit as most of America, primarily because I think Ken is a dolt. Still, the numbers were outrageous. Each had a huge audience, but the finale was the highest rated non-sports program of the week, and it fell behind the first three episodes, which drew more viewers than every "Monday Night Football" game and the first five games of the World Series.

As for your question, well, you recall correctly. I love game shows. Yes, I love the draft more, but there is little doubt about my clear eyes and full heart for game shows of almost all ilks.

 

Not sure I've ever done a Rushmore of game shows, to be honest. But hey, I'm game. (See that, Spy?)

My personal all-time favorite is the "Family Feud." "Jeopardy!" has to be on there, even though I have some other favorites that are more enjoyable. "The Price is Right" is an all-timer. The family gathers around and watches a great deal of "Wheel of Fortune," so that needs to be there.

(Side note: Did anyone see the comedy of error this week on the Wheel? A lady gets to the final puzzle after winning more than $14K. The clue is "What are you doing?" and the puzzle went "_ _ _ _ _ N G  _ A _ _" and the lady looked ol' wholesome Pat Sajak in the face and said, "Chasing Tail." So there's that.)

Side note on the side note: Game show bloopers are the best. THE B-E-S-T. There was the fast money on "Family Feud" in which game show wizard and kissing king Richard Dawson asked the lady, "In which month can you tell a pregnant lady is pregnant?" The answer: "September."

Or there is the great, "Name a famous Arthur?" The guy's answer: Shakespeare. Yes, ol' Arthur Shakespeare. Must have been Billy's brother.

And of course, there is the litany of highlights from "The Newlywed Game," which leads us to the all-time game show flub. When Bob Eubanks asked the question, "Where is the strangest place you've ever made whoopee?" well, the urban legend has become better than the actual answer.  

But it did happen, and here's the clip. Enjoy.


From Ernie

I don't understand the new 5-10 deal you mentioned. Will I need to do something different in the future? Right now I get an email with the 5-10 in it.

Ernie

You are set and sounds like you already get the 5-at-10 newsletter each morning around 10:15.

The paper leadership is trying to get more eyeballs. Everyone is, in every branch of media and almost every facet of BID-ness everywhere.

The paper is offering 30 free visits to the 5-at-10 morning newsletter. And to make matters even more beneficial, the paywall has been dropped on all TFP stories I link to each day. (For example, I would assuredly link this story by TFP college football wizard and Press Row cohost David Paschall in which he looks back at the top college football prospects from the area each year for the last couple of decades. Nice job, David, and if you look at the list at the bottom of the story, it's a testament to the uncertain nature of recruiting that the lowest-rated of the highest-ranked annual prospects was Tre Herndon, who was 1,052nd nationally in 2014. Herndon went to Vandy, became a three-year starter and became a major reason that the Jacksonville Jaguars felt comfortable dealing Jalen Ramsey.)

You guys and gals who are regulars are already part of this morning conversation. But if you know folks who you think may want to be part of the work-day discussions, they can get an extended free trial right there in their inbox.

The sign-up is timesfreepress.com/pressrow. And hey, if you are already a subscriber but do not have the 5-at-10 sent to you each morning, well, sign up, too.

Any help spreading the word would be most appreciated, friends.  

 

From Matt H.

I have some ESPN questions for you.

There have been two huge sports stories on the TV side this week. Who among the ESPN list of talking heads do you listen to the most on stories like Kobe or Super Bowl preview stuff? Thanks.

And if I can have one more, I used to get frustrated at listening to Stephen A. before "Press Row," so I was really excited for the change.

But the show that has replaced Stephen A. is way worse than Stephen A. I don't know if you have the chance to listen to it or not, but have you and what are your thoughts?

Thanks — and will let me know if this is going to be in the mailbag, and if not, could you send me your answer directly?

Matt

Thanks for the question.

The second part first: I was super stoked for Jason Fitz to get the 1-to-3 slot on ESPN Radio. I think he is amazingly likable and charismatic and brings a lot to the table. (In fact, I liked the "Golic or Wingo" show the best when Fitz was running point with either or both of the Golics running the wings.)

I also realized how difficult it was going to be to replace Stephen A. Smith. A lot of folks do not like Stephen A., but friends, believe when I say this: He is great at the art of talk radio, because at the core of this is making sure everyone a) knows who you are and b) has an opinion about your show/personality/what have you. And considering that very basic definition, does anyone check those two boxes more emphatically than Stephen A.? I can't name them.

So Fitz' job was going to be tough from the very start.

But, having listened to the show fairly regularly for the last couple of weeks, well, how's the best way to put this?

OK, let's go here: That format — the name of the show is "First Take, Your Take" — is the single worst idea since Marconi invented the radio.

Too much? Hyperbole? I'm not so sure. The premise forces Fitz to play clips from the TV version of "First Take" in which Stephen A. or Max or whoever else is arguing about something in the sports world. Fitz then opens the phone lines or reads social media posts about the listeners' views of said debate.

And that's pretty much it. And it's mind-numbingly mundane and completely wastes anything Fitz brings to the table.

He sounds like a small-town traffic cop, telling everyone "Good job" for driving 14 mph through the school zone and saying, "There's no doubt Andy Reid has the most to lose by a bad performance this Sunday."

And that makes me sad, but what do I know?

As for the experts this week on the Mothership, and I assume the two big stories to which you are referring are Kobe and the Super Bowl, here are my tops and my bottoms:

When they speak, I either shush the room or am prepared to hit pause:

NFL, in order: Louis Riddick is aces, and if ESPN does not land Tony Romo, Riddick should be doing way more on the "Monday Night Football" broadcast. He's an easy 1 for me. The rest of the NFL top five for me is Dominique Foxworth, Steve Young, Dan Orlovsky and Ryan Clark. Also, I like Mike Tannebaum, too, and Randy Moss is way better than I thought he would be at this. (Side note: Gang, if you got to hear Chris Long on LeBatard on Thursday, well, Long is going to be great at this media thing in the near to immediate future.) Also of note, Adam Schefter's great as is Sal Pal, but those dudes are reporting rather analyzing.

NFL mute button handy: Booger. Makes my ears bleed. Tedy Bruschi. Matt Hasselbeck. (Which is kind of strange because he was the better Hasselbeck QB, but his brother Tim is a way better analyst.) John Fox is bad, and of course Chris Berman.  
 
As for the Kobe story or NBA in general, I greatly enjoy listening to what Tim Legler has to say. He's great at blending inside details of the game and knowledge into simple language that you can digest. Dave McMenamin is great. So are Romana Shelburne and Doris Burke. And Stephen A. knows his NBA, whether you like him or not. And not unlike Schefter, Adrian Wojnarowski is great and maybe right there with Schefter and Jeff Passon (MLB) as the biggest news breakers in Bristol.

The NBA mute button, well, let's just say there are a lot to choose from.

Thanks for the question Matt.

 

From Jules

So I've kinda been out of the loop but have a mailbag question for you about the baseball cheating thing.

Aside from it being morally wrong (seriously, honesty would be far left on the Rushmore of what I want to instill in my children, kindness could make an argument for far left, what would the other two traits be?), as a competitor, don't you want to win because you were the best? Isn't that why some of those guys made it — they were driven to be the best they could each time they went out there?

I know there are all kinds of money incentives for winning as well, but they already make so much anyway, is a little more that big of a deal?

Soon I'll go back to living in denial because I so love baseball, I don't want these things to be true. 

Jules

Your final sentence is what the MLB is praying all of us will do. And who knows how we will feel when pitchers and catchers report.

There is a lot to unwrap in your email for sure.

As for taught traits we are doing everything in our power to make sure the little 5-at-10s have, yes, honesty is certainly there. Kindness too, and part of that in our mind is being polite. (And man, where have the manners among young people gone? Yes, I sound older than Spy and Chas put together, but ask anyone who knows my kids, and if they are not 'Yes sir,' 'No ma'am' then there will be an issue. Manners may be the quickest and possibly the most telling way to see if kids are being properly reared.)

I believe work ethic is also there. Because no matter how smart or gifted you are, if you do not know how to work hard or are unwilling to work hard, well, you are a) going to hit a ceiling far below your potential, and b) get passed by people with fewer skills but more drive. I tell every team I coach, good talent can make you a good player, great habits and work ethic can make you a great player.

Finally, I'll go a well-adjusted amount of confidence. I've never been in short supply of it. In fact, I added the "well-adjusted" part because while some people may have struggled with shyness, there are some of us who have struggled with arrogance to the detriment of relationships and opportunities.

As for baseball, I get your point, and yes, we'd love to think that these guys would not only be offended by cheaters but outraged. Even when it's by teammates.

And by no means are we trying to find excuses for those Astros, but in a lot of ways I understand the motives in a competitive fire pit like sports on something like this and PEDs, especially if it's becoming commonplace across the sport.
If you are a fringe guy just trying to stay in the big leagues, you are looking for any edge.

If you are a solid big-leaguer but trying to find your way into the everyday lineup, you are looking for any edge.

If you are an all-star but trying to win a title or be a Hall of Famer, well, say it with me, you are looking for any edge.

Yes, we used the Hal Holbrook line from Wall Street earlier this week, but it feels like it fits here, too. "Man looks in the abyss, there's nothing staring back at him. At that moment, man finds his character. And that is what keeps him out of the abyss."

 

From a lot of you

What's your menu for Sunday?

Gang

Here's our menu/food plan for the weekend.

We are slow cooking a prime rib Saturday. We will do prime rib French Dip sliders. (We caramelize the onions and make a homemade horseradish as well as the au jus.)

We will have hash brown casserole. (It was requested, so there's that.) That will be the main part of the halftime 'meal.'

As for the appetizers/shuffling dishes through the pregame and first half:

> We will have sliced sweet peppers and a fiesta dip (Hidden Valley, and yes it sounds too simple, but it's quick and easy and people love it; plus we do it with plain Greek yogurt so it's easily the healthiest part of the table;

> I have a very good artichoke and spinach dip. Side note: When preparing either sandwiches or dips, do not ignore the importance of the buns or whatever you put out next to the dips. A bag of Ruffles and/or Wonder bread buns is not good enough.

> I will have stuffed jalapeños — cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and bacon pieces;

> We will have homemade potato skins with a light spicy ranch drizzle (whatever ranch you prefer — or it could be bleu cheese — add about a 60-40 percent blend of basic hot sauce — I prefer Louisiana — and mix);

> Speaking of the spicy ranch, I use it as side dipping sauce for my fried pickles and fried green tomatoes, too. I will have one of those out Sunday, too.

As for the other tip for you guys hosting a Super Bowl get-together, well, do not forget the gambling games.

You can find online commercial Bingo cards and play along.

You can expand any of the prop bets and have people enter with either a quarter a pop or a dollar a pop or what-have you. Sure,  the traditional Super Bowl board with the squares may be tough to fill because of numbers. But you can MVP sheets, with enough names for everyone to have one — but make sure you have a "field" entry to cover everyone not on the paper.

You can do enough J-Lo or Shakira songs and do the first or the last for halftime.

There are a lot of things you can do to make sure everyone feels connected.

And let me know you have any questions.

Enjoy the weekend, friends.    

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