Mindgame: Game 6 Score Left Up For C’s Workout

For the Celtics practice yesterday, the Staples Center scoreboard was still displaying the final point tally from Game 6 of the NBA Finals the night before:

Phil Jackson Mindgames: Game 6 Score Left Up At Staples Center For Celtics Practice

No coincidence that the Lakers happened to win that game 89-67.
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Guy Blows Out 8 Staples Suites For $1M Nightclub

J.A. Adande has a piece today at ESPN.com on one of L.A.’s newest must-see nightspots. (At least for 48 minutes, three times per week.)

Hyde Lounge At Staples Center Sam Nazarian

You won’t find this club in a reconditioned room hidden in some grimy Hollywood back alley. The space resides in Staples Center, where nightclub mogul Sam Nazarian bought out eight upper level suites for $1M to create the venue. A little background from SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL:

In its first year the lounge will be open to courtside seat holders and suite owners. As part of the deal, AEG sold a block of tickets for Lakers, Clippers and Kings games and other events to SBE to distribute to its best customers to hang out at the new club, said Lee Zeidman, the arena’s executive vice president and general manager.

So did Adande give the club the usual ‘this is cool!‘ review? To his credit, no. Some of that probably had to do with club management not giving him an automatic pass. But I’m guessing that’s just the kind of exclusivity mystique Nazarian wants fostered to lure more a-listed high rollers. Read more…

Memorial: AEG, Jackos Blackmail LA, City To Sue?

Having lived in Los Angeles for going on 10 years, I can tell you that the people who inhabit this place are the epitome of laissez-faire. For example, we have the worst traffic congestion of any city on earth, yet the citizenry never forces elected leaders to do a damn thing about it. In our recent, sham election for mayor, guess how many times the issue of traffic, our #1 problem in this town, came up?

Jacko Nicholson Courtside At Lakers Game

(I helped pick up the tab for Jacko’s $4M Courtside Seat)

You got it. Zero.

Combine that with L.A.’s obscene obsession with celebrity and you get what we have today: A taxpayer-funded extravaganza for a dubious dead celeb that will reportedly be solely used as a promotional tool for his family and local power broker AEG to launch a massive tribute show or three in London - which could use the elaborate staging at O2 arena that was to be reserved for you-know-who. *Memorial* my a$$.

Celebrity Sighting At Jackson Memorial: Gayby

(Early celeb sighting at Jacko Memorial: Gayby!)

Meanwhile, 2,000(!) LAPD officers will today work the world’s most morbid concert kickoff promotion ever, with most receiving overtime pay. The cost of that staggering, needless show of force? $4 million big ones. As an Angeleno who will help kick in that kitty, I would’ve at least expected a dead Jacko discount coupon at my local Wienerschnitzel.

So why is L.A. outlaying that kind of cash from a city fund that is normally reserved for emergencies like wildfires, earthquakes and of course, riots? Key members of the City Council have quite obviously been bought off by AEG (wanna get re-elected, babo?), which is the largest land developer in downtown L.A. an landlord to the L.A. Lakers and owner of the Los Angeles Kings.

Jacko MacAuley Culkin Tattoo

(Soon to add: “In Loving Memory”)

AEG also happened to be the corporate monolith that was producing Jackson’s 50 shows in a row in London. And will now reportedly cash in on the subsequent Jackson tribute show(s) in London.

There is though, one significant soul who is protesting L.A. taxpayers getting soaked for $4M so Tito, Jermaine and Marlon can skip the layaway on their next pillowtop purchase. Read more…

Michael Jackson Could Hurt The LA Kings - Really!

When Michael Jackson died suddenly yesterday afternoon, media outlets the world over pored through their archives to find a unique angle on the pop icon’s death. Most of Jacko’s connections to real-world areas of interest like cars and sports were of the bizarre, whimsical variety (like his head-scratching speech to English soccer team Exeter FC). I mean, let’s face it, the guy was a human trainwreck, and we’re all gawking.

Michael Jordan & Michael Jackson

(Uhhhh…sure.)

But there’s one ongoing Michael Jackson storyline that could make some very serious waves in the world of sports. Anschutz Entertainment Group, the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues (including the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings, the MLS’ Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy, English soccer team Newscastle United, and stadia like the Staples Center), was also the company producing and bankrolling Jackson’s 50-concert “comeback tour.” Now, with no Jacko and no tour, AEG faces a whopping $500 million dollar insurance liability and over $85 million in ticket refunds. Sports fans -prepare to bend over and solve AEG’s problems for them.

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Speed Read: LA Riots as Lakers Get NBA Title #15

The Magic were a Courtney Lee layup and a Derek Fisher miss away from being up 3-1 and having the Lakers on the ropes going into Game 5 last night, but it wasn’t to be. Then, sensing that Orlando was still reeling from giving away Game 4, the Lakers seized the momentum and left absolutely no doubt as to who the better team was in a 99-86 series-clincher at Pyramid Scheme Arena. The Lakers used a 16-0 run in the second quarter to take control, and the Magic never got closer than five after that.

Lakers celebrate

It’s title #15 for the Laker franchise, #10 for coach Phil Jackson (breaking Red Auerbach’s record), and #4 for Kobe Bryant (who was also named MVP). And, if you’re scoring at home, suck it, Redick:

Adam Morrison

(Ladies and gentlemen, the saddest NBA champion ever.)

Kobe finally got his title without Shaq, though it’s not like he did this thing alone (but averaging 32, 6, and 7 in the Finals is a pretty impressive line). The Lakers were a mediocre team until Memphis GM Chris Wallace decided to give them Pau Gasol, and the continued development of youngsters like Andrew Bynum and Trevor Ariza helped push the team to another level. Add in the rejuvenation of candy addict Lamar Odom and you have all the ingredients for a championship run.

Pau Gasol

As for the Magic, they certainly have a lot of things to be proud of, but also face a lot of uncertainty going forward. Will they find room for Hedo Turkoglu? What are they going to do with Rafer Alston? Will Dwight Howard grow into his true potential? Will Stan Van Gundy’s insane act wear thin? Was this their only window of opportunity? If Cleveland gets LeBron some help and KG comes back healthy for the Celtics, Orlando might find getting back to the Finals an impossible task in the near future.

Dwight Howard alone

The trophy presentation had plenty of unintentional comedy, including Jackson’s goofy “X” hat that his kids made for him, Morrison’s puzzled look as he decided whether or not he should act like he deserved a ring, and a hilariously awkward interview with Jerry Buss‘ kid, whose public speaking skills came off like a cross between your average spelling bee champion and Mark Madsen. David Stern’s backhanded obligatory compliment to the Magic for being a “very worthy Eastern Conference champion” was nice too. All in all, it wasn’t “anything is possible!” but still a very solid postgame ceremony.

Phil Jackson X hat

Of course, the fine citizens of Los Angeles are always looking for a flimsy excuse to throw a garbage can through a window, and the “celebration” around the city extended well into the wee hours of the morning. As I’m sure you already know, Brooks was on hand outside the Staples Center and noted that the LAPD was clearly overwhelmed in trying to keep up with what was going down on the streets.

police at Lakers celebration

(Yeah, this is probably enough officers, right?)

Fortunately, Brooks was able to get some good shots of the good clean fun outside of Staples before things went south. Although CBS 2 says that, all things considered, this year’s riots were not on par with previous years, such as 2000 when the Lakers won the series in L.A. Still, the LAPD’s attempts to keep revelers out of downtown altogether was a massive failure, and the department should be counting its lucky stars that major issues were the exception and not the norm.

De La Hoya statue at Lakers riot

(Kobe jersey with no undershirt and jeans = not a good look for a white guy)

Magic statue Lakers riot

(”The looters went that way!”)

The LA TIMES says that some folks went into looting mode, breaking windows at a shoe store and cleaning out a convenience store. Because what better way to celebrate your team’s NBA title than with some stolen beef jerky and a chunk of glass in your thigh?

And what makes all of these people even bigger geniuses is the fact that their city and state are both completely out of money, so it’s entirely reasonable to destroy a bunch of stuff that public funds will have to replace. Look, I’ve been excited, but I can’t imagine ever feeling the urge to carry a metal barrier through the streets and ram it into things indiscriminately, like these folks who were photographed by ABC 7 in L.A.:

Lakers fans riot

I’m sure we could fill page after page with entertaining photos of idiot Laker fans, but other things are happening in the world of sports, so let’s get to the links:

• OK, one more NBA thing. Charles Barkley checks in with a column in the LA TIMES, and he thinks Phil Jackson won’t be around to wear an “XI” hat next year.

• While most sports fans were transfixed on the NBA Finals, Cliff Lee took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Cardinals in the night game on ESPN, but Shin-Soo Choo made a less-than-stellar attempt at catching Yadier Molina’s deep fly into the right field corner, and the no-hitter was no more. Lee didn’t exactly throw Choo under the bus afterward, but it also seemed like he wasn’t really pleased with the effort. The Indians won 3-0, and Lee gave up two more hits.

Michael Phelps lost two races yesterday at a meet in California. Perhaps it’s the porn ’stache that’s weighing him down?

Michael Phelps porn stache

• The SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS says that 17-year-old baseball phenom Bryce Parker is going to skip his last two years of high school, get his GED, and play community college baseball in Las Vegas in preparation for the 2010 MLB Draft. If you think Stephen Strasburg’s going to command a boatload of money, just wait until this kid gets drafted. He’s already bombed multiple 450-foot-plus shots in a home run derby in Tampa.

• Your 2009 LPGA Championship winner is Anna Nordqvist of Sweden via Arizona State. See if you can pick her out of this photo:

Anna Nordqvist

I know. It’s a tough one.

• Oh, yeah, now you try and trade for Shaq, Cleveland. Way to think of that about four months too late. Perhaps it was the steep asking price of Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic that made them balk the first time around.

• How bad have the Colorado Rockies been this year? After a 7-1 win over Seattle yesterday, they’ve now won 11 games in a row, but still are a game under .500 and 10-1/2 games out of first place. Still, a nice run for the Rocks, who haven’t won this many consecutive games since September of 2007, when they won like 49 out of their last 50 on the way to the World Series. More good news for the Rockies: catcher Yorvit Torrealba’s son was returned after being kidnapped for ransom in Venezuela, and he spoke about the ordeal for the first time yesterday.

• I can’t imagine better timing for Nike to release a shoe designed by and dedicated to Chien-Ming Wang. But hey, if your dream is to have a 14+ ERA in the big leagues, these kicks are for you:

Chien-Ming Wang shoes

Phil Ivey is a sick human being. He won his second World Series of Poker bracelet in a little over a week with a victory in a half Omaha/half Stud high-low event on Saturday. He was simultaneously playing a different pot-limit Omaha event in another part of the room, and fit in enough hands there to nearly make that final table. And he somehow found more time to win over $100,000 online. While the $400,000+ in prize money he has won for his two bracelets this year is nice, rumor has it that he’s won millions more in bracelet wagers with his friends and high-stakes regulars at the Bellagio. At 33, Ivey already has seven bracelets and needs just four more to equal the record held by Phil Hellmuth, Johnny Chan, and Doyle Brunson.

• You know how on WWE they always have someone get “hurt” and then carted off and dramatically loaded on an ambulance like there’s some sort of actual injury? Well, that happened to Japanese superstar Mitsuharu Misawa on Saturday night. Except it wasn’t fake. He had a heart attack during a match in Hiroshima and died at the age of 46. Misawa got his start as a character called “Tiger Mask” and was the biggest star in Japanese wrestling, reportedly on par with Hulk Hogan in the U.S. The BALTIMORE SUN has a short tribute. Here’s some footage of Misawa going at it a few years back with Samoa Joe:

Who ya got for the 2010 NBA title?

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Vince McMahon Gets His Revenge On Nugs Owner

We’re all familiar with the Denver Debacle by now - how the WWE was kicked out of the Pepsi Center for Monday, May 25, because the Nuggets were facing the Lakers in Game 4 of their NBA Western Conference Finals series. Well, Vince McMahon vowed he would get his revenge on Stan Kroenke, the owner of both the Nuggets & the Pepsi Center.

And last night from Staples Center, he got it. Sort of. Kind of.

Oh, just see for yourself:

You go, Vinnie Mac! Kudos to you for that funny XBA joke. And who knew Kroenke’s real first name was Enos?

Jeter Drops $850,000 For Yankee Stadium Suite?!

With tickets that have soared to such astronomical prices, it’s easy to see why we’ve seen so many empty seats at the new Yankee Stadium this season. Your average New York baseball fan really can’t afford to shell out hundreds of dollars just to take in one game. (Go ahead & give them a call, and just try to find some cheap seats.)

Derek Jeter female Giambi fan

(”I just came down to tell you that we’re all out of Fresca.”)

Well, never let it be said that Derek Jeter doesn’t look out for his own. The Yanks star still has plenty of friends & family who would love to see him play in the new digs, but they can’t (or won’t) cough up the dough. So to make sure he still has his own personal cheering section, Jeter is renting out one of the new stadium’s luxury suites.

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Clips Beat Boston, Enough To Drive You To A DUI

• The L.A. Clippers beat the Boston Celtics. First sign of the apocalypse?

Gabe Pruitt Celtics Ricky Davis Clippers

• And Brooks was there, checking out the Staples Center’s Chairman’s Club - while the Celts’ Gabe Pruitt should have called a cab.

• Today’s tale of horrendous hazing & alleged sexual assault comes to us courtesy of the Taft High School boys’ volleyball team.

• One ping pong punk puts on a celebratory dance routine that would make Ocho Cinco proud.

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Chair Toss Throws Out Game Six Party At Staples

Although the Lakers have already played their final home game of the season, many L.A. fans were planning on heading back to Staples Center tonight, hoping to watch their team stay alive in the NBA Finals. But for those on the 10 or 101 or 110 heading downtown, you might as well turn around - the viewing party’s been nixed.

Jack Nicholson Staples Center

(Sorry, Jack - Find somewhere else to screech tonight)

Kevin Modesti of the L.A. DAILY NEWS reports that Staples will not be showing tonight’s Game 6 on their big screens. Fans had previously been allowed inside the arena to watch Games 1 & 2 in the Lakers-Celtics showdowns.

So, why not tonight? Because Lakers & Celtics fans can’t play nice.

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ESPN Moves Into New Los Angeles Broadcast Facilities

NOW’S KILBORN’S CHANCE TO SLINK BACK INTO BUILDING: The LOS ANGELES TIMES reports today that ESPN will be moving into a five story building in downtown Los Angeles in 2009. An obligatory ESPN Zone will pollute the area (across from Staples Center) on the first two floors, and there will be broadcast facilities above that.

L.A. Live Staples Center

ESPN plans to host the late SportsCenters from L.A., along with pizza delivery until 3 a.m. to surrounding sports fans. (Ok, we made the pizza thing up, but it would be cool to have Scott Van Pelt deliver some extra Papa John’s garlic sauce.)Now the question is, who gets to escape Bristol for the smoggy, crimed climes of downtown Los Angeles? ESPN’s George Bodenheimer said, “We’ll be moving some of our highest-potential folks out here.

In other words, pretty much anyone single and under the age of 40 will be going west.

Bodenheimer also reports that because of the move to SoCal, there will be many more opportunities for ESPN original entertainment productions. So that already has us lighting candles for a “Tilt 2″:

ESPN Hollywood

We’re also holding out hope for a reprise of Mario Lopez’s critically-acclaimed “ESPN Hollywood“!