Commentary

This and That

Updated: June 15, 2009, 1:38 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

• Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers on their 15th NBA championship. Phil Jackson passed Red Auerbach for career titles won by a coach with his 10th. Kobe Bryant celebrated his fourth championship and first without Shaquille O'Neal by his side. The Lakers really shut down Dwight Howard and company in game five. Hollywood is enjoying another marquee performance. It was not just Kobe leading the Lakers to the winner's circle. Pau Gasol had a great Finals effort. Derek Fisher hit the game-tying shot in Game 4 Trevor Ariza made a number of big plays. Lamar Odom excelled in the postseason.

• Also deserving of congratulations ... the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners of the Stanley Cup. Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and company shocked the experts in the world of hockey, as well as the Red Wings, capturing the Cup in Detroit. Most felt the Red Wings would win Game 7 in the Motor City and the first six games were won by the home club. In the final contest, Pittsburgh held on and won. What a great sports year it has been in the Steel City! The Steelers won the Super Bowl; the University of Pittsburgh's men's basketball team made a great run in the big dance before falling to Villanova. Now the Penguins are celebrating! Could the Pittsburgh Pirates make a surprise run? OK, OK, after the Nate McLouth deal that may be asking for too much.

• There have been trade rumors as the Cavaliers may try to bring Shaq in from Phoenix. Obviously he is not the player he was several years ago, but he would be a plus in Cleveland. He would be motivated, trying to win another championship. Shaq would also be hooking up with another great player in LeBron if the deal happens. He was with Kobe in LA and Dwyane Wade and Miami when he got to the hoist up the gold trophy. Shaq lost some weight and came on strong last year; if he is inspired he will be a positive for the Cavaliers.

• It was sad to hear of the passing of former University of Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick. People don't realize what a great job he did in Lawrence. He was the man with the unbelievable intuition and talent to recognize the ability of Roy Williams. Frederick had numerous Division I head coaches interested in the Kansas position, but he heeded Dean Smith's recommendation and hired the 10-year North Carolina assistant. The rest is history and all you have to do is go to Springfield, Mass. to see Williams' accomplishments. Frederick was a terrific family man and a great person. Remember, he also served as the chair of the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee, a difficult job. My sympathies go to the Frederick family as Bob was a special man as well as an asset to college athletics.

• A message to all Little Leaguers out there: catch the ball with two hands! If you don't believe me, ask Mets second baseman Luis Castillo. Talk about a win taken away on a rough play. The Mets led 8-7 and had two Yankees out in the ninth inning when Alex Rodriguez lifted a pop-up that Castillo backpedaled for and seemed to have, only to drop it. That allowed two runs to score as the Yankees stole a victory from the jaws of defeat. Most little leaguers would have caught it and it kept Rodriguez from being booed.

• Who would have thought that later in the Mets-Yankees series we would see Johan Santana, expected to give the Mets a chance for victory, shelled for a personal-high nine earned runs allowed in three innings? The Yankee bats were on fire. That's why, my friends, they play the games!

• Lou Piniella could not have been happy with Milton Bradley's play recently. Bradley made a catch that gave the Cubs two outs, yet the outfielder thought there were three and threw the ball into the stands. Major League players have to know the number of outs in an inning. It has been a frustrating season for Piniella and the Cubs and this did not help.

• I want to wish a speedy recovery to Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun. He is involved with so many charity events, and he recently suffered broken ribs when he fell off a bike during a charity race. Calhoun suffered from dehydration and was hospitalized for observation following the injury. He was released from the hospital on Sunday.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.