May 8, 2003
Celeb Lakers fan Ashton Kutcher:
May spot him at Staples this week, but he's got the buzz today for a Rolling Stone interview describing partying with the Bush twins.
 
 
 
The Lead Item
Two Words For You:
REIGN.  OVER.

Much like those preposterously premature Election Night projections, I'm calling it after two games: The Lakers are finished.

When Spurs designated defensive stopper Bruce Bowen can go off for 27 ... when L.A. wheezes after San Antonio's speed and depth ... when the Lakers slide behind 13, 17 and 27 at quarterly intervals ... when Kobe misses most of his 24 shots and season-long scrub "Not That" Kareem flings up 13 ... the champs are beyond redemption.

Going home, gimpy Devean George, Zen Master mind-tricks, the aura of hoops royalty ... the dynasty has no chance when the masses are finally primed for revolution. The kings are dead, so long live the Kings. Or, maybe at this rate, the Spurs.

MJ Dissed
Who says shove off to Michael Jordan? If nothing else, you have to admire Abe Pollin's Spaldings, if not the way the Wizards owner axed M, with a shockingly dismissive wave of his hand. Apparently, no discussion necessary -- let alone a mere explanation -- when you're the boss. The Greatest Player Ever left stunned? There's the surprise.

What's next? MJ has his choice of opportunities, from Charlotte's ground floor to Atlanta's lower-than-ground-floor to Dallas' Cuban-will-do-anything-for-you. Meanwhile, the Wizards will still stink, only without the cachet of Michael Jordan's cologne.

Nets Blitz C's
If Danny Ainge takes the reported (and strangely timed) job offer to head Boston's basketball ops, his first move should be to pawn Antoine Walker (another soul-sapping 3-of-15 performance) to whomever will take him. Much like the Spurs gunning past the two-star Lakers, the Nets have

"HE'S MJ AND YOU'RE STILL THE WIZ" EDITION
THE SET-UP: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW THIS WEEKEND
1 Minny at Vancouver: Nothing beats an NHL Game 7
2 Kings at Mavs: Look out for another rout
3 Sixers at Pistons: Watch Billups' ankle situation
THE SIT-DOWN: RETIRE THESE CONVERSATION TOPICS
1 Tigers as Worst Ever: Swept -- swept! -- Orioles
2 Tiger/caddy split: "Getting along fine," emails Woods
3 Josh as "Idol" (thankfully); Kimberley gets boot next
 
too much of everything for the two-star (one star?) Celtics.

Wild, Canucks Go 7
In scheduling a Game 7 on back-to-back nights with Game 6, the NHL should get credit for seizing on momentum, but in an era where hype-building is everything, the league is marketing tone-deaf.

And what about player fatigue? Minnesota could care less. In coming back from its second straight 3-1 series deficit (with 5-1 emphasis last night), the Wild has all the momentum.

'Bama Update
Maybe Alabama football should hire state favorite son (and rejuvenated "Idol" finalist) Ruben Studdard: Short of that, it looks like ex-Tide QB/NFL assistant Mike Shula is the guy. Love his youth (only 37), but fans will cringe at his head-coaching inexperience (uh, none).

As for the ex ... Reportedly, there's a "For Sale" sign on Mike Price's front lawn ... to go with the "Kick Me" sign on his back.

But here's the bigger issue: If he was "too drunk to really know" what he did on his Big Night, how can he also dispute some of SI's eye-opening allegations about his conduct?

Jose, Can You See?
Jose Canseco said he was told three years ago he was being "blackballed" by baseball. Actually, Bash Bro, everyone just knew you couldn't play anymore.

T-Nsync-T
Filling the playoff-season void in sports journalism, pop star (and hoops fan) Justin Timberlake will be TV's newest NBA reporter. After watching him school Kenny Smith at last year's All-Star Weekend, he's got cred. As if attracting the hotties wasn't enough.

Wizards owner Abe Pollin:
Maybe MJ didn't show the greatest management acumen, but Abe's tactics in dismissing him weren't exactly "HR 101."
 
 
What's next for MJ? Vote at SportsNation
Today on ESPN.com
IN: Euro Diaries
NBA Playoffs
P2: Being Mr. Met
 
"Justin Timberlake" Edition
Bye Bye Bye
MJ dismissed in D.C. ...
 
Dance With Me
... But unlimited opps in Charlotte
 
Cry Me a River
Lakers can't blame refs now
 
It's Gonna Be Me
Mike Shula in at Bama?
 
Justified
Antoine annoyed with own performance
 

Mike Mussina improved to 7-0, and Cy is his to lose; meanwhile, DJ went 1-for-3 in Trenton and may be back with Big Boys by Tuesday ...

The NBA All-Rookie first team is fine, but none are still playing. Give me Spurs revelation Manu Ginobili ...

Rumor Mill: Mets' Robbie Alomar to Cards for Fernando Vina ...

Who quits an NBA GM job to be a college-hoops assistant? Jeff Bower of the Hornets, leaving for powerhouse Penn St

Auction this: That Angels employee who tried to sell Series ring on eBay is suing team for wrongful termination ...

Bobcats, Dragons, Flight: None of the potential Charlotte NBA nicknames inspire. Forced to choose one? "Flight"


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