Commentary

Three words make L.A. TitleTown

Eric Neel makes his case for Los Angeles as TitleTown USA.

Updated: April 16, 2008, 11:42 AM ET
By Eric Neel | Page 2

I'm not going to mention the Showtime Lakers, the Shaq-and-Kobe Lakers, or even the fresh-for-2008 Pau-licious Lakers who are about to rack up the franchise's 10th NBA championship in Los Angeles. I'm not going to point to Pete Carroll's relentless run at perfection in the past seven years at USC, or to the fact that the Trojans have won more team championships (men and women) than any other program in collegiate history.

I'm not going to bring up the Dodgers' five World Series titles since the move from Brooklyn. You won't hear about Long Beach Polytechnic High School, historically the most prolific professional athlete factory in all the land, and the home of one of the best girls basketball teams in the country in 2008, from me. And I won't say boo about Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who positively own women's professional beach volleyball, or Tony Alva, one of the pioneers of professional skateboarding.

The sun shines 283 days a year here in Southern California. We don't sweat the small stuff. We're too busy setting up towels on the beach, watching three-time Billabong Pro winner Bobby Martinez do his thing.

But if you press me, if you insist on hearing my argument for L.A.'s claim to the mythical title of TitleTown USA, if you make me say out loud what you already know, in your hearts, to be the one true truth about titles, I will say three words and no more. And I will announce them like Bret Maverick showing the royal flush, like we both know that when I do, the game is over, and these three words are: John. Robert. Wooden.

Eric Neel | email

Page 2 columnist
Eric Neel is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.