What’s the biggest boner in NBC decision-making? Leno … oh, and that XFL thing ….

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The cover story for the Jan. 29 issue of Entertainment Weekly merits some scanning for old sports news.

It tries to list “TV’s 50 Biggest Bombs Ever!” — a complete list of “flops, blunders & really bad decisions.” OK, we get it.

But will NBC ever get it.

Jay Leno’s 10 p.m. show has superceded everything on this list, coming in at No. 1 — maybe because it’s the most recent act of stupidity.

Actually, as NBC Sports boss Dick Ebersol explained earlier this week on The Dan Patrick Show (KLAC-AM 570 and DirecTV 101), it wasn’t so much putting Leno in that time slot but making a decision five years ago that it would terminate Leno’s deal and put Conan O’Brien in as “The Tonight Show” host. It tried to fix its blunder by hiring Leno back, trying to get best of both TV worlds. Ratings haven’t recorded it to be very successful, and affiliates were rumbling … but they couldn’t have stuck it out a little longer?

Back to the list…..

According to EW (as it likes to call itself), among the decisions by NBC to cancel “Baywatch” in 1990, the decision by NBC to air “Pink Lady and Jeff” in 1980, the decision to NBC to air a remake of “Bionic Woman” in 2007, and the decision by NBC to air “My Mother The Car” in 1965 AND 1966, here’s some other sports-related things you may remember that were blunderfully terrific in TV history (with the magazine’s ranking::

10. The XFL (NBC, 2001):

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NBC and the World Wrestling Federation teammed up for something that was going to compete with the NFL as far as …. we’re not sure. It wasn’t quality football. From the league that gave us “He Hate Me” and hot-tubs on the sideline of the L.A. Xtreme games at the Coliseum, the lesson learned here: “Tough-sounding team names don’t matter if the teams are just plain tough to watch.” They’re being too kind here. Only Tommy Maddux seemed to make anything of this. The former UCLA quarterback, who was the MVP of the league with the Xtreme, got a job with the Pittsburgh Steelers after this.

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11. Terrible late-night talk shows: The Magic Hour vs. The Chevy Chase Show.

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Magic Johnson’s show came and went in 1998. EW: “Magic’s low point came when he allowed Howard Stern’s crew to come spend an entire hour farting into microphones and telling him how horrible his show was.” Look back on all this from our experience: We were at Farmer’s Market in L.A. and someone was giving out tickets to see the Magic Hour being taped nearby at CBS Television City. Again, the tickets were free. Most people checking out the produce looked at the distributors were Hari Krisnas. From our recollection, Magic lasted just a month on the job. The syndicated show on Fox disappeared. Poof. Like Magic.

45. Dennis Miller on Monday Night Football: (ABC, 2000-2002)

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EW: “If there’s one thing football fans love, it’s for some know-it-all to club them over the head with obscure referencs that require an encylopedia to decipher.” Really, was that the problem? Or was the audience too dense to get jokes? Nope, it was that Miller, the “Saturday Night Live” star who also tried his own late-night shows, afternoon shows, cable shows and carnival shows, thought he was supposed to be a game analyst and add snarkiness when appropriate. Dan Fouts didn’t butt in enough and Al Michaels wasn’t sure who to turn to. Tony Kornheiser tried to be Dennis Miller Lite for a few seasons, and that wasn’t so bad. It’s just that it wasn’t so good.

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Oden: Sorry y’all had to see my junk on display

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The Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden is apologizing for nude photos that have surfaced on the internet.

Oden says the pictures, taken with his cell phone and sent to a former girlfriend, were taken about 1 years ago. A friend told the 21-year-old Tuesday morning that the pictures were making the rounds on the internet.

“I would like to apologize to everybody: Portland, the fans, the organization,” Oden told reporters at the Blazers practice facility. “It was very embarrassing.”

Oden is out for this season after fracturing his left kneecap during a game against the Houston Rockets on Dec. 5. He averaged 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds in 21 starts.

The 7-foot-center was the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft out of Ohio State. He missed his rookie season after have microfracture surgery on his right knee.

Oden later told a local radio station: “Those pictures were taken and sent over a year and a half ago. I’ve definitely grown since then.” (linked here)
Nice way to sum it up.
Any reporter who has been in a locker room isn’t fazed by this, but apparently, the rest of the world is when it’s delivered on the Internet machine. Smell it Feel it See it for yourself if you must (linked here)

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The Laker White House crashers — Obama’s shoutout to Magic, Jeanie, Coach Phil, the ’91 Bulls, Kobe … even Mr. Dunk Contest guy … and a personal handshake for Khole

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AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

Because we have somehow passed clearance and are linked into the White House’s Office of the Press Secretary email list, we’ve got the transcript of today’s ceremony where President Barak Obama had a few things to say — and a couple of digs to deliver — in the process of honoring the team that won last summer’s NBA title.

As it goes (in full transcript, complete with references to applause and laughter):

THE PRESIDENT:

Hello, hello! How are you? Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Thank you so much, everybody. Please have a seat. Welcome to the White House. And congratulations, a little belatedly, to the Los Angeles Lakers for winning your 15th — 15th — NBA title, and fourth in the past 10 years.

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Before I say a few things about the Lakers, I just want to acknowledge some wonderful members of Congress and big Lakers fans who are here: Congresswoman Jane Harman, Congresswoman Laura Richardson, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congressman Brad Sherman, and Lucille Roybal-Allard. Please, everybody, give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, as folks here will tell you, the only thing that is better than playing basketball — the only thing that’s better than watching basketball is playing basketball — but I’m 48, and soon to be 49, and it’s a little harder these days to move around on the court, especially when you’re playing against kids who are half your age. But I still get enormous, enormous pleasure from watching great athletes on the court. And nobody exemplifies excellence in basketball better than the Los Angeles Lakers last year. (Applause.)

I want to congratulate everybody who helped make this team what it is — from the assistants to the front office staff, to the trainers and the ticket-takers, all the fans back in L.A. who bleed purple and gold. You all should be very proud. That’s you. (Laughter.)

I want to congratulate Jeanie Buss and the rest of the Buss family for guiding this team so well for the last 30 years. (Applause.)

I’m especially excited to meet Coach Phil Jackson, the Zen Master. (Laughter.)

I’ve been a fan of Coach Jackson’s ever since his days running the triangle offense in Chicago. I want to congratulate him on his tenth NBA championship — the most in history. I do want to point out that six of them came with the Bulls. (Laughter.) I just want to point that out.

You remember that, Magic?

MAGIC JOHNSON:

Yes, sir. (Laughter.)

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THE PRESIDENT:

’90-’91? Remember when — (applause.) You know, they won the first game and they were feeling cocky. (Laughter.) And Paxson was hitting all those shots. Anyway, we’re not — that’s not why we’re here. (Laughter.)

I was hoping that, Coach, you were going to bring some books for Republicans and Democrats in Congress maybe to get them to start playing like a team together. (Laughter.) Coach is famous for passing out books and helping people get the job done.

We are obviously honored to have one of the all-time greats in NBA history, Magic Johnson. (Applause.) Magic did pretty well during his time with the Lakers. He wasn’t bad. (Laughter.) And now a new generation is continuing his legacy. But obviously part of what makes Magic special wasn’t just how he played on the court, but also just the infectious enthusiasm about life and what he’s now doing with businesses and minority communities. He’s just been an outstanding leader in our country for a long time.

Of course, I’ve got to recognize Kobe Bryant – one of the most competitive players I’ve ever seen — (applause) — for being named Finals MVP last year, obviously already MVPs under his belt, the youngest player ever to reach 25,000 points in his career. And he’s playing with a broken finger. Now, if I was — if I had a broken finger, I would have trouble getting out of bed. (Laughter.) And he’s still leading the team day in and day out.

This is a team that never lost its focus last season — from the first tip-off to the final buzzer. I know that the Lakers have a tradition of ending each team gathering — whether it’s a practice, or a game, or a team meeting — by with the chant, “1,2,3, Rings.”

As Lamar Odom said, “We kind of always saw that light.” Everyone was willing to do what it took to get a little stronger, to play a little harder, and to bring home that title.

But I think it’s important to note that this team also knows that being a champ is about more than trophies and rings. It’s about being a winner off the court as well as on it — and giving back to those who are less fortunate. The Lakers and the NBA have always been about serving others — at home and around the world. And that tradition continued last week, when the NBA and the Players Association, led by Derek Fisher, pledged to donate $1 million to support relief efforts in Haiti. (Applause.)

Jordan Farmar and Pau Gasol are also donating their money to the Clinton-Bush Haiti Fund. Pau pledged $1,000 for every point he scored against the Knicks — and I’m glad he dropped 20 — (laughter) — helping the Lakers to beat New York and changing the lives of Haitians thousands of miles away.

And earlier today, the team joined with our United We Serve initiative to hold a fitness clinic for kids from Stanton Elementary School right here in Washington, D.C. — teaching them about a few moves, but also how to live healthy and active lives.

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So I just want to again thank the entire Lakers organization for your service, for the great joy that you have given the city of Los Angeles, but also the incredible competition you’re your organization has graced the basketball court with for decades now.

If this season is anything like the last one — I know that you guys have your sights on the NBA finals — so we might see you here before long. But we are very grateful for your presence here today.

Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.)

Now, one last thing. I was also told that Mr. (Shannon) Brown here intends to win the dunk contest — (laughter) — so we’ll see how that goes.

++++++++++

Left: President Obama greets Khole Kardashain, the wife of Lamar Odom, at Monday’s Lakers ceremony.

== More somewhat blurry photos from Jeanie Buss’ Twitter account, first with this one of Khole giggling under a President Clinton portrait …. man, if a pix is worth a thousand words (linked here)

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And these others:
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John Ireland made the trip:
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Felix named ’09 L.A. Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year

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AP Photo/Erik van Leeuwen

For her two gold medals at the IAAF World Track and Field Championships in Berlin and making history as the first woman to win three consecutive world 200 meter titles, Allyson Felix was named 2009 Sportswoman of the Year by the L.A. Sports Council.

The former L.A. Baptist High of North Hills star and USC graduate, who also ran a leg of the U.S. 4×400 meter relay gold, won the same award in 2007.

She will be honored at the L.A. Sports Awards ceremony on Feb. 19 at the new JW Marriott Hotel in LA Live.

The five-time California high school state champion who broke Marion Jones of Thousand Oaks’ high school 200 meter time won gold at the 2008 Olympics in the 4×400 relay and took silver in the 200 meters in the ’04 and ’08 Games.

Previous winners are beach volleyball stars Misty May and Kerri Walsh (2005), Sparks center Lisa Lelie (2006) and Sparks forward Candace Parker (2008).

The L.A. Sports Council last week named the Lakers’ Pau Gasol as the Male Athlete of the Year for 2009.

The L.A. Sports Awards honor the greatest moments of the year in sports in the Los
Angeles/Orange County area. There is online voting at www.lasports.org where fans can pick the top moments in 15 categories through Jan. 31.

== Felix’s offical website: http://allysonfelix.com/
== Felix’s Wikipedia entry (linked here)

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