Lots of sports talk for Tuesday:
(1) Larry Brown: For the second time in three years, Larry Brown has been in contract talks with another team while he is supposed to be leading his current team through the playoffs. The national sports press sounds slightly outraged this morning at Brown's duplicity, which is fitting, although I wonder where the outrage was when Brown was selling the Sixers down the river by throwing in the towel during their playoff series against Detroit--while he was almost certainly in talks with Detroit to become their next coach.
You may think of Larry Brown as a Hall of Fame coach, but I'll always think of him as one of only two basketball coaches bad enough to lose the gold medal at the Olympics--and the first to lose with pro players. (I don't count the stolen game against the Soviets in 1972 as a loss.) Brown is a genius, but he's the type of guy who is ostentatiously classy--but only when it doesn't cost him anything. And when bad times come, he's the first out the door.
(2) Johns Hopkins: The Blue Jays won the NCAA lacrosse title yesterday for the first time in a generation. Too bad. Hopefully bad luck will return to Homewood next year. Don't feel sorry for them--believe me, they deserve it.
(3) Danica Patrick: I know nothing about racing, but the attention lavished on her sticks in my craw a little since she didn't win the Indy 500. The guy who did win--Dan Wheldon--looks to be on a pretty impressive hot streak. He's the overall series points leader and Sunday's win was his fourth victory in five races. Yet Wheldon is nearly anonymous to the casual observer and Patrick is omnipresent. That hardly seems just.
Let Patrick win something, and then we can all celebrate her. The rest of Danicamania has the distinct odor of Kournikova-ism. People who value sports should want to avoid that at all costs.
(4) French Open: Lindsay Davenport is the opposite of Danica Patrick. Nobody fawned over her when she was a young teen coming up on the tour. Nobody cared when she got her game and her body into shape and started winning Grand Slams. Nobody even really cares now that she's making another run deep into the French Open. All Davenport does is win and embody everything that's great about tennis. Why can't ESPN do big, gushing profiles on her? She deserves them.
Then there's the big question presented by this year's open: How good is Roger Federer? He's only 23 and he's already won four of the majors. He looks like a dominant champion.
But in tennis champs come in two varieties. There are the unstoppable juggernauts who take over the game for years at a time (Sampras, Lendel, Borg) and then there are the transition players, who take over the game for a couple years and then fade away (Hewitt, Wilander). Which is Federer?
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