Dick Enberg, on John Wooden

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Because his career as a broadcaster is so well connected to John Wooden and his UCLA basketball championships — he did the play-by-play of the games for KTLA-Channel 5, which were later re-aired that night — Dick Enberg, who saw eight national titles in his nine years of calling Bruins games, has shared his memories in various places over the last couple of days on the Wizard of Westwood.

Some of thoughts on Wooden’s passing by Enberg, the San Fernando Valley native and former San Fernando Valley State (now Cal State Northridge) teacher and baseball coach, as he was with the San Diego Padres doing their games in Philadelphia this last weekend:

== From Saturday’s San Diego Union Tribune (linked here):

“I knew it was coming, but it is painful. I stayed up last night, crying as I watched all the tributes to him. He was, other than my father, the greatest man I’ve ever known. And his greatness was exceeded only by his goodness. I’m just proud to have been able to rub shoulders with such a man.

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“Such a loving, lovely man. The bed in his little apartment (in Sherman Oaks) was still made the way (Wooden’s wife) Nell made it before she died, 20-some years ago. He still had his love letters for her on the bed.

“As you can imagine, when you walked into that apartment, it was like a museum. I remember him handing me a book of (Abraham) Lincoln quotes, then we walked around the corner, past a little place where you could hang stuff on hooks. Hanging right there was the Presidential Medal of (Freedom), just kind of hanging there with some other stuff.”

== From MLB.com (linked here):

“We were on a bus trip to Spokane to play Washington State, and I was sitting in the back of the bus when I got the word: Wooden wants to see you. And I thought, great. Two hours with John Wooden — I’ll have terrific stuff for the game on Monday night.

“So I walked up front, and he said, ‘Dick, do you like poetry?’ And I said, sure. He said, ‘Do you like Edna St. Vincent Millay?’ And I said, ‘Oh, of course.’ And he didn’t mention basketball once in the entire two hours. He just talked poetry.

“Those two hours were a little lesson in what was really important in life — and it wasn’t the game on Monday night.”

== On the FSWest website (linked here):

“I saw Coach in March at his apartment and knew it wouldn’t be long. So typical of Coach, when we first entered his apartment, his first query was and ‘how are the children?’

In saying goodbye he asked me to kiss him goodbye on the forehead. It allowed me a loving farewell. Our two hour discussion often took us to his first love, baseball.

He was a Cubs and Cardinals fan, loved Stan Musial. Few remember that he was offered the Pirates Manager’s job, but elected to stay at UCLA. He confirmed that his favorite American was Abraham Lincoln. He has more Lincoln books than basketball.

And his favorite person in his 99 years of life was Mother Theresa.

Someone in the room asked who his favorite living person was in the present. He got that twinkle in his eye, separated his lips in a wry smile, and said, “Dick Enberg.”

We all had a good laugh.”

== From CBSSports.com, he narrates a piece on Wooden (linked here).

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Game 2 celebwatch: ‘Hey, weird boyfriend, did you hear what your kid said: He wants to play for the Lakers someday … I suggest he go the agent route. … They seem to overachieve.’

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(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Hilary Swank and her boyfriend and agent, John Campisi, discuss issues of the day with John’s son, Sam, as they watch Game 2 of the NBA Finals at Staples Center on Sunday. Note how Sam is reacting to Hilary just as Kobe Bryant did to Chris Rock in Game 1.

More camera work on the celebs from Game 2, because we care enough …

Continue reading

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Play it forward: June 7-13 on your sports calendar

Highlights of the week ahead in sports, both here and afar:

MONDAY

MLB: Free-agent draft, 4 p.m., MLB Network:

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Not much of an argument here: Bryce Harper, the 17-year-old catcher from Las Vegas who has already been on the cover of Sports Illustrated and was recently suspended for two games from his college team for a beef he had with an umpire, is the player most expected to be the Washington Nationals’ No. 1 overall pick in today’s annual non-pro pickings. But then there’s Austin Wilson, the star outfielder at Harvard-Westlake who has a scholarship to Stanford (and has already homered in a game at Wrigley Field in Chicago, according to the video above), could also go in the first round, and Westlake High first baseman/outfielder Christian Yelich is also been rated highly. The Angels have three first-round picks (Nos. 18, 29 and 30) plus two more in the additional round (37 and 40), while the Dodgers pick 28th. This whole thing actually runs a couple of days, so tell the local kids to hang tight.

MLB: Dodgers vs. St. Louis, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

Former Dodger Brad Penny has been on the DL with a bad back, so his turn in the rotation has been given to 25-year-old P.J. Walters. Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright follow for games 2 and 3, which gives us a flashback to last year’s NLDS

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 7 p.m., FSW:

The stat sheet shows that Ben Sheets, who missed the entire 2009 season with a bad arm, has struggled at 2-4 with a 5.00 ERA in his comeback with the A’s. It actually started worse. Some on the team figured out he was tipping his pitches. While he seemed to fix that, he hasn’t won a game in about a month — mostly due to a lack of run support. He starts in the first of four against the already road-weary Angels.

TUESDAY

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NBA Finals: Game 3: Lakers at Boston, 6 p.m., Channel 7:

They only get one day off – to travel — between Sunday’s Game 2 in L.A. and this one in Beantown? Doesn’t that defeat the 2-3-2 format purpose? Then have to sit around in sweaty Boston for the whole week and avoid taking the Duck Boat Tour to curb their boredom? So, if do it, ask the pilot if you can steer when the thing plunges into the Charles River.

MLB: Dodgers vs. St. Louis, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Channel 9:

Need a Broxton bobblehead? You’ve got some relief here. Just buy a ticket and show up. And he may actually pitch. If there’s some trouble. Or you can call on A.J. Ellis.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 7 p.m., FSW:

Jered Weaver outpitched Zach Greinke in K.C. last week. And he hasn’t lost a game since May 12.

MLB: Pittsburgh at Washington, 4 p.m., MLB Network:

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David Clyde. We remember him well. A lefty out of Houston, the top pick of the Texas Rangers in 1973 — and brought straight up to the big leagues. He won his first game in front of 37,000 at Arlington Stadium, the first sellout in the park’s history. He won again. He never went to the minors. The 18-year-old would end up with that many wins — 18 — against 33 losses when his pro career ended in 1979, with Cleveland, and with arm problems. Whitey Herzog, Clyde’s manager in 1973, said in his 1986 autobiography he regretted going along with owner Bob Short’s push to get Clyde into the big leagues, leaving him in the game longer than he felt was normal. Clyde ended up in the lumber business.

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And now we have Stephen Strasburg, the San Diego State star who was the No. 1 pick almost exactly a year ago, making his anticipated big-league debut. Did he waste a few months in the minor leagues, going a combined 7-2 with a 1.43 ERA and 65 Ks in 55 1/3 innings for the Harrisburg Senators (Double-A) and Syracuse Chiefs (Triple-A)? Probaby not. We’ll see how the fanfare plays out with Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and John Smoltz on the call.

WEDNESDAY

NHL Finals: Game 6: Chicago at Philadelphia, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

OK, so Michael Jordan is spotted in a luxury box at Game 5 with a Jonathan Toews captain jersey. But how money is it to see Vince Vaughn with the Bobby Hull sweater, sitting on the glass going crazy as Bolland scores in the first period to help send the Blackhawks to a 3-2 series lead, one win away from winning their first Stanley Cup in a bajillion years.

MLB: Dodgers vs. St. Louis, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime:

Tell Matt Holiday to freeze on the line drives hit directly at him in left field.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 7 p.m., FSW:

Since his perfect game against Tampa Bay on Mother’s Day, Oakland’s Dallas Braden has lost three decisions in a row, and the A’s have lost all four games that he’s pitched in, dropping his record to 4-5 with a 3.60 ERA, which isn’t all that much higher than it was back in early May, when he was 4-2. The Angels beat him, 4-0, on May 14, and he’s back matching up against Joe Saunders.

THURSDAY

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NBA Finals: Game 4: Lakers at Boston, 6 p.m., Channel 7:

Boston mayor Thomas Menino gives the kind of public speeches that make Springfield mayor Quimby on “The Simpson’s” look Kennedy-esque. If the Celtics somehow turn this thing around and win three on their home court, “Mumbles Menino” (check his website, linked here) will likely have something “ionic” to say about it.

MLB: Angels at Oakland, 12:30 p.m., FSW:

Ervin Santana beat the A’s back on May 15, giving up two earned runs in six innings.

FRIDAY

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FIFA World Cup: South Africa vs. Mexico, 7 a.m., ESPN:

Let the great kickball tournament begin. See you in a month.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Angels, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime, FSW:

Head to head, the Angels have won 41 of the 73 meetings in the regular season, outscoring them 341-309 — even though the Dodgers are 20-17 against them at Dodger Stadium. And for what it’s not worth, the Angels beat the Dodgers, 6-4, in the Freeway Series finale on April 3 where 35,310 were in attendance at Dodger Stadium. So it must have been important.

NHL Finals: Game 7: Philadelphia at Chicago, 5 p.m., Channel 4:

Bobby Hull flips his wig if this thing goes this far.

SATURDAY

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FIFA World Cup: United States vs. England, 11:30 a.m., Channel 7:

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Roger Bennett, the Brit who co-authored the book “ESPN’s World Cup Companion: Everything You Need to Know about the Planet’s Biggest Sports Event,” says: “American will win the World Cup in my lifetime I have no doubt of that … The country that won the Battle of Saratoga, put the first man on the moon and persuaded the world to part with five dollars for a cup of coffee will find a way to win. It just has to turn its mind to the task.” Sounds like Bennett should be working for British Petroleum. And someday, in our lifetime, the Gulf of Mexico will be swimmable. The Americans, led by our guy Landon Donovan (wearing the No. 10), could lose this game and still make Bennett’s prediction come true, since many expect them to come out of Group C no matter what this outcome. We’ll see about that. Right, Becks?

MLB: Dodgers vs. Angels, Dodger Stadium, 7 p.m., Prime, Channel 13:

Let’s put Garrett Anderson in the lineup every night and see what happens.

SUNDAY

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NBA Finals: Game 5: Lakers at Boston, 5 p.m., Channel 7:

Haven’t heard the result of the latest wager by L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Before Game 1, he offered up our own Jack Nicholson, wearing green and white, to film a commercial “touting Old North Church, the Common, and all there is to see in Boston” if the Lakers lost the series. (Perhaps, even the witches of Eastwick). But if the Lakers win, he wants Bostonians Matt Damon and Ben Affleck to be “spkespersons for a public service announcement extolling the virtues of the City of Los Angeles, where the climate, the beaches, and the food are far superior.” We think Damon and Affleck already know that, since they tend to spend most of their working days here anyway.

MLB: Dodgers vs. Angels, Dodger Stadium, 1 p.m., Prime, Channel 13:

The Angels are scheduled to send Jered Weaver out against whomever the Dodgers want to fill that strange No. 5 spot. Jeff Weaver, anyone?

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More on the multitasking Jalen Rose


Jalen Rose, above, speaks about his role in the new movie “Just Wright,” on his YouTube channel.

“Think of how some athletes who came before us could have used social media,” says Jalen Rose. “Imagine Muhammad Ali. Maybe Wilt Chamberlain.”

He pauses to ponder how someone who estimated he had 20,000 sexual encounters could have either built his brand or tore his legacy apart with that kind of information to spread around.

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Rose, the 13-year NBA player, former Michigan “Fab Five” star and current ESPN NBA analyst, has become such the social networking butterfly, we tried to pick his mind about etiquette and protocol with these electronic devices left to our imagination (today’s story linked here).

We’ve always liked what Rose has had to say about the NBA. Many others have as well.

The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning wrote this about him recently (linked here): “Every time Jalen Rose appears on ESPN with his NBA analysis, a thought occurs: The one-time Michigan guard is the best former athlete-turned-TV guy in my memory. Fluent, smart, charismatic — he is a premier mix of talents. And as likeable as anyone in front of a TV camera, anywhere. Some of the Michigan State camp will get apoplectic over any Rose compliments because of his attachment to the Fab Five-Ed Martin scandal. That was then. This is now. He is my favorite analyst on television.”

Back in 2004, when Rose was still playing for the Toronto Raptors, we tracked him down after seeing him given a microphone and cameraman and asked to cover the Lakers-Pistons NBA Finals for FSN’s “Best Damn Sports Show Period.”

An excerpt of that story:

A show contributor during the regular season, Rose was so quick-witted and humorous that they gave him a media credential, a producer and a camera to collect sound bites from the Lakers and Detroit Pistons.
The funniest moment so far might have been when he stopped Lakers coach Phil Jackson trying to drive out of practice during Monday’s off day between Games 1 and 2, and Jackson called him “Jamal.”
“I’m going to remember that next time we play (the Lakers),” Rose said by phone before Thursday’s Game 3 in Detroit, his hometown. “I think I just surprised him when I stopped his car. He got the ‘J’ part right and knew I was from Michigan and once played for the Bulls. I think he was going to call me ‘Juwan’ and it just came out ‘Jamal.’ ”
Rose, who majored in radio, TV and film at Michigan, thinks he’s a natural and says this gig has “given me an appreciation of what the media has to do, and the real media members haven’t given me a hard time about being a rookie. I appreciate that.”
Rose’s recent offbeat segment for “BDSSP” was interviewing Staples Center celebrities after Game 2, where he was at ease questioning the likes of Steven Speilberg, Jack Nicholson and Denzel Washington. But he froze up when NBA legend Bill Russell came by.
John Entz, the “BDSSP” senior producer, says Rose “speaks his mind and he’s a basketball fan who knows the game. When he goes to the players, you can see them light up.”

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If you’d like to respond to Rose directly:

== Via Twitter:twitter.com/jalenrose. He lists his location: T: 34.124125,-118.507559.
He tweeted Wednesday morning: #nbafinals I’m picking the Lakers to win in 7 games over the C’s only if Bynum is effective (not the 6pts/3rebs he avg last year)

== Via YouTube (where he’s been since Feb., 2007) www.jalentv.com

== Via Facebook.com: www.facebook.com/JalenRose

== Via Ustream (where his bio says “All American, ESPN Analyst, Multimedia extraordinaire. I’m here to connect with fans and give you my thoughts on a variety of topics, from music to entertainment to fashion to basketball and more): http://www.ustream.tv/channel/therosereport

== His personal website: jalenrose.com

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The Media Learning Curve: We’re reaching here

Following up on today’s media column, focused on Game 1 of the Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals and how ABC covered it (linked here), we have more, if Phil Jackson is done yelling at Doris Burke:

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== John Brenkus’ “Sport Science” property, incorporated now into ESPN “SportsCenter” newsworthy segments rather than as the half-hour series that it used to be on Fox Sports Net, helped explain before Game 1 of the NBA Finals how Celtics guard Rajon Rondo may have a physical advantage over those trying to defend him that goes back to Leonardo Da Vinci’s study of human proportions.

Brenkus’ point: Rondo’s wingpan of 6-foot-9 is 11 percent longer than what a normal 6-foot-1 person should have, and his hands (9 1/2 inches long and 10 inches wide), are 2 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the average man’s hand, and are proportionate to someone taller than 7-foot-6 Yao Ming.

As a result, when Rondo goes on a fast break and is able to whip a 180-degree behind-the-back pass with his right arm, he does it in a five-foot arch to the tune of 0.283 seconds — comparable to what an NFL quarterback can do with an overhand pass.

More on the Burbank-based Brenkus’ Twitter account linked here, and a link to his company, BASE Productions, linked here.

== Best headline of the week, from Deadspin.com (linked here), which went with this picture:

Dario Franchitti Shows Off His Trophy, Wife

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Adding with text: Indy 500 champion Dario Franchitti would like to take this opportunity to remind you that his life is slightly better than yours. Heck, his dogs’ lives are probably better than yours.

By the way, you think Ashley Judd shops at Target?

If viewers had known Judd would be at the finish line — this time, not in a wet shirt from the rain — more may have watched. As it’s turning out, this was the lowest rated Indy 500 since it started going live in 1986, down 10 percent from last year’s previous all-time low. SportsMediaWatch.com (linked here) says that it is the first time that the race has drawn fewer than 4 percent of U.S. television households. It was also, again, outdrawn by the NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the Coca-Cola 600, shown on Fox later that Sunday.

== Following tonight’s Game 4 on Versus, NBC adds Dan Patrick as the host of its Stanley Cup final coverage when it resumes Sunday (5 p.m., Channel 4) in Philadelphia. He’ll also host Games 6 and 7 if necessary.

== To find the series on “I Scored A Goal” that ESPN has pulled together on tracking down the 34 living men who scored a goal in a FIFA World Cup final, go to this link.

== Jeff Pearlman isn’t the first and won’t be the last (linked here) to question why Fox’s Jay Glazer has been allowed to be a personal trainer for some NFL players while he also reports on them (linked here). Pearlman: “This, journalistically, is a joke. An embarrassing, pathetic, worst-of-its-kind joke.”
We’re on board with that.

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== Coming off Versus’ coverage of Stephen Strausburg’s last minor-league start — Thursday morning, when pitched five shutout innings for Syracuse against Buffalo in a Triple-A game — the MLB Network will have the major league debut for the Washington National’s 2009 first-round draft pick when he throws Tuesday against Pittsburgh. Bob Costas, Jim Kaat and John Smoltz will be on the call (4 p.m.).

MLB Net will also replay Roy Halladay’s perfect game from last Sunday at 9 a.m. today.

== Ted Robinson and John McEnroe have NBC’s call of the French Open tennis men’s final (Channel 4, 6 a.m.), which comes after it has the semifinal today (11 a.m., delayed), without Roger Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals and had his streak of 23 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances snapped.

“Watching Roger Federer fall to Robin Soderling made me wonder if spectators on July 17, 1941 understood the significance of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hit streak ending,” said Robinson. “Federer’s streak is the DiMaggio of tennis. Twenty-three straight Slam semis — we will never see anyone approach, let alone surpass, that record.”

Live coverage of the women’s final (Francesca Shiavone-Samantha Stousur) is at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Today’s Soderling-Tomas Berdych semifinal match will be on at 4 a.m. on Tennis Channel, with the Rafael Nadal-Jrgen Melzer match live at 11 a.m. on the East, but delayed here.

== ESPN gets another practice match before the World Cup, having Martin Tyler call the U.S. friendly against Australia from Roodeport, South Africa (Saturday, 5:30 a.m., ESPN2). Tyler, joined by John Harkes and Rob Stone, will do the U.S.-England game on Saturday, June 12 for ABC.

== ABC takes over the final Triple Crown race, Saturday’s Belmont Stakes (Channel 7, 2 p.m. pre-race, 3:12 p.m. post time) with Joe Tessitore, Jerry Bailey, Randy Moss, Jeannine Edwards, Jay Privman, Steve Cyphers, Tom Rinaldi and Caton Bredar, plus handicappers Kenny Mayne and Hank Goldberg.

== TNT returns to NASCAR Sprint Cup coverage from Pocono (Sunday, 10 a.m.), with new race caller Adam Alexander joined by Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty.

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== FoxSports.com has added the media critiques of Variety’s Brian Lowry, making the site (according to its information, “the first affiliated with a TV network to engage in active criticism and analysis of the industry.” That’s kind of a fancy way of saying it’s different from what ESPN.com ombudsman Don Ohlmeyer and his predecessors have done for that website with a staff critic. Lowery’s “From the Couch” column is exted to bring “analysis and criticism of all the major players in the industry, including our own,” said Ed Bunnell, Senior Vice President of Programming for Fox Sports Interactive. Lowry, at Variety the last nine years, is a UCLA graduate who spent seven years at the Los Angeles Times as a reporter and columnist covering the TV industry.

In his most recent column (linked here), Lowery discusses why ABC’s NBA team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson “epitomizes much of what’s wrong with modern announcing,” especially when compared to the hey-day of Chick Hearn.

AND FINALLY:

What does the sale of TheBigLead.com mean to anyone?

The site explains as much as it knows (linked here), so any other speculation seems redundant. As for the big picture, The Sporting News has some ideas (linked here).

As for everyone else trying to make a go of it, we’ll see about the buzz in Chicago this weekend.

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An event that has those who type all a twitter is the Blogs With Balls third annual convention set for Saturday at Wrigley Field in Chicago, put on by HHR Media Group and Modern Hombre. Sports bloggers, journalists, media industry leaders and technology innovators will be speaking on a bunch of topics related to the activity.

“We are proud that over the course of the year, BwB has evolved into an industry leader in bringing together all facets of the online sports media community,” said event co-founder Don Povia. “The continued involvement of not only independent bloggers, but also representatives from companies like ESPN, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, Yahoo! Sports and Yardbarker, shows that collectively online sports media is working and growing together.

“But it’s the fact that more and more members of the newspaper, academic and marketing fields; and tech leaders like Gowalla are participating, that evidences BwB’s growth in size, scope and voice.”

According to the BleacherReport.com (linked here), participants include Big League Stew, The Basketball Jones, Michelle Steele (Bloomberg), T.K. Gore (CSN), Andy Ellwood (Gowalla), Amy K. Nelson (ESPN), Michael Calderon (Big Ten Network), Michael Rand (RandBall), Scott Reifert (Chicago White Sox) and Mike Germano (Carrot Creative).

Topics to be discussed: The evolution of the local sports media market in the digital age, the pursuit of advertising dollars, a review of legal and ethical issues for 2010, the use of podcasting and video, and what today’s technology and innovations mean for tomorrow’s fan.

Wish we could be there. No way to follow this somewhere on the Internet machine?

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Ready for their closeups: Your Lakers, or their Celtics

After all these takes and retakes, you’d think L.A. would have Hollywood’s red carpet on its side entering a 12th encounter with the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals.

Apparently, Mr. Nicholson, you don’t know Jack.

And what’s a Jesus Shuttlesworth on the DVD resale market?

If the Lakers of the past had a much broader resume in the movie business, the result of this year’s the most revealing matchup of this series – silver-screen pedigree – points toward a edge for these Celtics that Roger Ebert and the Internet Movie Database would dutifully acknowledge.

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Before you go digging out Judd Apatow’s “Celtic Pride” from 14 years ago to see if its held up all these years later, consider how the Hollywood Walk of Fame would judge these candidates for future enshrinement based on their bodies of work in the film industry:

CELTICS

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Ray Allen

Back in 1998, Spike Lee recruited him to play opposite Denzel Washington (the frequent Lakers courtside seat filler) in “He Got Game.” Allen, as Jesus Shuttlesworth, the No. 1 college recruit and estranged son of the imprisoned Jake Shuttlesworth, supposedly wasn’t Lee’s first choice. Allen Iverson turned it down. Rick Fox, Travis Best and Walter McCarter were also auditioned.

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Wrote Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times about Allen in his review (linked here): “(The film) never creates artificial drama with game sequences, even though Ray Allen, who plays for the Milwaukee Bucks, is that rarity, an athlete who can act.”

In 2001, Allen came back in the role of Marcus Blake in “Harvard Man,” with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Adrian Grenier (pre “Entourage”) and Joey Lauren Adams. Christopher Null, of FilmCritic.com, praised the cast’s performance but added “Only Ray Allen (as Grenier’s teammate) disappoints – as usual, his line readings come off as exactly that and little more.”

Yeah, but he’s still got game.

Rajon Rondo

The recently released “Just Wright,” with Common as a member of the New Jersey Nets, also includes Dwight Howard, Bobby Simmons, Rashard Lewis and Dwayne Wade. But Rondo blows past all of them.

Kevin Garnett

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Asked to play Wilt Chamberlain in the 1996 made-for-TV flick “Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault,” Garnett stood tall, opposite Don Cheadle as Manigault.

Rasheed Wallace

Remember him as “Whitley” in the 2002 “Juwanna Mann,” a teammate of Vlade Divac? Dikembe Mutombo and Mugsy Bogues, who were also in it, probably do. Wallace was also as himself (with current Celtics teammate Michael Finley) in the 2002 “Like Mike,” which also included Chris Weber, Gary Payton, Tracy McGrady, Jason Kidd, Iverson, David Robinson, Steve Nash . . . and no one else saw it?

Doc Rivers

The Celtics coach played himself, as a member of the Atlanta Hawks, in the 1996 “Eddie,” with Whoopi Goldberg as coach of the New York Knicks. So now you know where Doc got all his strategy.

Celtics of the past

Larry Bird played himself in “Space Jam,” “Celtic Pride” and “Blue Chips” . . . Bob Cousy played a coach, Vic, in “Blue Chips” and played himself, as did Bill Walton, in “Celtic Pride” . . . On TV, Bill Russell hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 1979 and was in an episode of “The White Shadow,” “Love American Style” and “Miami Vice” . . . Kevin McHale made it into a couple episodes of “Cheers.”

LAKERS

Kobe Bryant

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Do documentaries count? With the Lakers playing catchup at this point. they need every help they can get.

And Spike Lee is there, again.

He came looking for Kobe when he decided to follow an NBA player around, and the result was “Kobe Doin’ Work” in 2009.

A review from SlamOnline.com’s Lang Whitaker (linked here): “There’s the matter of Kobe’s voiceover … Kobe narrates much of the action, explaining what plays are happening and at one point giving a long, interesting explanation of what the Triangle Offense actually is. But Kobe also spends a lot of the voiceover telling us things we already know (i.e.: he hates turnovers) and, worse, he almost seems to be trying to convince us of how much he loves basketball and that he has a high basketball IQ. At one point he even claims that he calls a lot of the inbounds plays before Phil does because they’ve been together for so long that they now see the court in the same way. (Although I’m pretty sure Phil’s been around the game a little longer than Kobe has.)”

Before that, the best acting Kobe did was playing someone named “Terry Hightower” in a 1996 episode of the TV show “Moesha,” when he was 18 at the time. Many remember he taking actress Brandy to her prom that year.

Lamar Odom

Somehow, a bunch of Clippers got into the 2002 film “Van Wilder” with Ryan Reynolds and Tara Reid. But while Michael Olowokandi, Darius Miles and Quentin Richardson played themselves (as did Erik Estrada), Odom was given the name Coolidge Chickadee Player.

Prior to that, Odom had only an episode of “Arliss” to prepare for this role of a lifetime. Unless you count “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

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Phil Jackson

The Lakers coach is listed in the credits for the 2005 film “Be Cool,” with Uma Thurman, Vince Vaughn and John Travolta. But how cool can you be if the scene, where he played himself, was apparently cut. Jackson is also uncredited for an appearance as himself in the 2004 film “After the Sunset” with Salma Hayek, Pierce Brosnan and Woody Harrelson.

Ron Artest

IMDb.com (linked here) isn’t clear on this, but Ron-Ron seems to be credited with an appearance in a straight-to-video 2004 thing called “Murda Muzik.” And he’s listed in called “They Call Me Crazy,” which is still, appropriately, in development.

Sasha Vujacic

Listed as “himself” in a still-in-production comedy called “Garbage,” about two Hollywood trashmen who find a Best Supporting Oscar in the garbage. Sasha, again, involved in garbage time.

Lakers of the past

If Shaquille O’Neal could post up his work up against Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, what a giant film festival that would be.

Shaq, of course, during his time with the Lakers cranked out “Kazaam” (1996) and “Steel” (’97) following his role in “Blue Chips,” and before he embarked in “Freddie Got Fingered” and “Scary Movie 4.”

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Kareem’s career goes back to the 1978 Bruce Lee classic “Game of Death,” but he’s most remembered as Roger Murdock (actually, himself) in the 1980 “Airplane!” Otherwise, roles in “Fletch,” “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh,” “BASEketball,” “D2: The Mighty Ducks” and as a presenter at the Academy Awards possibly made most forget that he did appear in “Slam Dunk Earnest.”

Lakers radio analyst Mychal Thompson hadn’t made it to the team yet when he did “The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh” (1979), but Kurt Rambis was back with the Lakers when he did the Billy Crystal movie “Forget Paris” (1995), and Vlade Divac and Cedric Ceballos were members of the Lakers in “Space Jam” (A.C. Green was also in it, but with the Phoenix Suns by then).

Over in TV Land

Derek Fisher, in the series “Eve” back in 2003, is credited with the role of “Trevor.” Eight years earlier, he made it into the LL Cool J TV series “In the House,” as himself. In two episodes . . . Luke Walton has an appearance in “Young and the Restless” on his resume . . . Pau Gasol played Victor Emparo in an episode of “CSI: Miami” last year, and as himself in an episode of “Numb3rs” the year before . . . Jordan Farmar was in two episodes of “Numb3rs” . . . And Lakers owner Jerry Buss was on the televised 2004 Miss USA pageant as a celebrity judge, as well as numerous televised poker tournaments.
And if you’re going retro TV: Magic Johnson’s short run of host of “The Magic Hour” in 1998, and as “Ringer Hockey Player No. 32″ in an episode of “Malcolm in the Middle” paled in comparison to his role of executive producer on many other film and TV projects. And remember James Worthy as a guest klingon in an episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” as himself in an episode of “Webster” (1987, “The Importance of Being Worthy”) and in “Everybody Loves Raymond” back in ’97?

The wild card

Chick Hearn – again, going back to old-school Lakers – shake ‘n’ baked perhaps the most Shakespearean list of screen credits of anyone involved with either team. The highlights: “White Men Can’t Jump” and “Love & Basketball” (with Stu Lantz), “Volunteers,” “The Harlem Globetrotters on Gilligan’s Island,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “The Love Bug,” “Fletch,” “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh.” And then there’s “Bowling for Dollars.”

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‘The Golden Voice of Vin Scully,’ in song

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An album review of “Dan Bern - Live in Los Angeles” by Matt Melis on ConsequenceOfSound.net (linked here) landed today includes these paragraphs:

Bern is later joined by Los Angeles-based folk-pop group Common Rotation and an assortment of other friends on several numbers, including two of the record’s most memorable performances.

Common Rotation perfectly backs Bern on the gorgeous, mid-tempo “The Golden Voice of Vin Scully”, which features Bern sharing vocal duties with several others.

“Sometimes I feel almost out of range,” sings Common Rotation’s Adam Busch, “I head south of the valley, and I pick up the game

“I pull off the road, jump out of my lane

“And lean against the hood, it’s still hot from the drive

“Trees fade out in the black of the night

“Sometimes it don’t hardly seem worth the fight

“But at least tonight I get to hear the golden voice of Vin Scully.”

However, the most striking part of the song actually comes after the final chorus. The band continues to play, as Bern begins to impersonate Scully doing the play-by-play of a Dodger game from August 4, 1965, in which Sandy Koufax is pitching.

The band’s sound, particularly Jordan Katz’s horn, comes across like the roar of a baseball crowd backing Bern’s play call.

It’s one of the more innovative live performances I’ve ever heard and fittingly concludes with the music ending abruptly and Bern remarking, “The mound tonight at Dodger Stadium must be the loneliest place in the world.”

The song can be found on Dan Bern’s website and uploaded from there (linked here) … and hear a snippet of it here (linked here)

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What ABC (and beyond) has planned for your NBA Finals starting Thursday

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The TV gamecall: Mike Breen, Mark Jackson and Jeff Van Gundy. With reporter Doris Burke. Spanish-language SAP commentary by Alvaro Martin and Carlos Morales.

The TV pregame: Stuart Scott, Magic Johnson, Jon Barry and Michael Wilbon. Comes on 30 minutes before each broadcast.

The radio call: Spero Dedes and Mychal Thompson on KSPN-AM (710); ESPN Radio has Jim Durham, Dr. Jack Ramsay and Hubie Brown on a national call.

The replays: ESPN3.com has a replay of each finals game, available at 11:30 p.m. each night through 9 a.m.. the following afternoon.

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Sideshows: A 30-minute edition of “The Jimmy Kimmel Show,” which comes on before the game in the East but after the game in Southern California.

The ABC broadcast: Includes that “Hall of Fame” montage open; in-game interviews with coaches, along with each coach being “wired” for sound; pregame and halftime locker room access; 32 high definition video sources; “SkyCam” providing aerial views of the action; six Super Slo Mo cameras; “ESPN Axis” creating virtual replays, with video from live action processed via computers to create virtual freeze frames from multiple angles; graphics allowing for 3D lines and arrows, hi-res snap zoom capabilities, player and pass tracking and an enhanced graphic interface.

ESPN coverage: Hannah Storm hosts the 3 p.m. “SportsCenter” segments on gamenight with Bruce Bowen, Avery Johnson, Tim Legler, Jamal Mashburn, Jalen Rose and Byron Scott.

Above and beyond: The series will be televised to 215 countries in 41 languages and streamed on NBA.com through “NBA League Pass” broadband international to 200 countries and territories. Also, for the first time, the Finals are going live to movie theaters throughout Mexico through Cinepolis, the leading cinema chain with 236 complexes and more than 2,200 screens. There is expanded coverage in Africa — 15 free-to-air stations for the first time through a new partnership with CAfrica, and ESPN.The NBA opened its first office in Africa in Johannesburg in May.

Media headcount: More than 280 international media members from 36 countries will cover the event in L.A. and Boston — with 44 of them from Spain, focused on the Lakers’ Pau Gasol. There are 43 broadcast partners airing the Finals for the first time.

ESPN Classic: A Finals marathon Wednesday from 4 a.m. until 9 p.m. includes:
= 4 a.m. – SportsCentury: Bill Walton
= 5 a.m. – SportsCentury: Bill Russell
= 7:30 a.m.: Up Close Classics: Magic Johnson
= 8 a.m.: Up Close Classics: Wilt Chamberlain
= 9 a.m.: SportsCentury: Magic Johnson
= 10 a.m.: SportsCentury: Larry Bird
= 11 a.m.: 1987 NBA Finals, Game 4: Lakers vs. Celtics
= 1 p.m.: 1985 NBA Finals, Game 5: Celtics vs. Lakers
= 3 p.m.: 1985 NBA Finals, Game 6: Lakers vs. Celtics
= 5 p.m.: 1984 NBA Finals, Game 4: Celtics vs. Lakers
= 7 p.m.: 2008 NBA Finals, Game 4: Celtics vs. Lakers

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