A GRIP ON SPORTS
There have been few NBA players better than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And even fewer smarter. He proved that again yesterday. Read on.
• What is it Shakespeare said? Sound and fury, signifying nothing? Much of what has been written about the Donald Sterling controversy has fit those parameters nicely, including the phrase that directly precedes the five words from Shakespeare's Macbeth speech. But not Kareem's piece yesterday for Time Magazine. Listen, few people in the United States are better suited to address prejudice than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He's always been a target, first because of his stature and then when he embraced Islam, changing his name from Lew Alcindor and embracing a religion few Americans understood at the time. But anger rarely flowed from his heart, though occasionally there were flashes of righteous indignation. He has always been thoughtful, calculating and, yes, cutting. Those are all good things in the right doses. In his Time piece, Kareem gets to the core of the matter. Donald Sterling's colors didn't change recently. His history shows who he is. But it took what seems to be an illegally recorded audio tape for society to show any moral outrage. It didn't matter the guy had a history of treating minorities with disdain. All that mattered was his ex-girlfriend cajoled him into speaking his true thoughts into a hidden microphone. And TMZ aired it. What Kareem writes is more about us than Sterling. That's a good thing. It's the type of dialogue that's needed more often.
• Gonzaga: When Kelly Graves left the Bulldogs and moved to the University of Oregon, speculation immediately began that Lexi Bando (pictured) would follow him there. After all, the point guard was from Eugene and, despite her letter of intent with Gonzaga, had connected with Graves as much as the school. Monday she followed the coach. She's been let out of her letter of intent with Gonzaga and will now enroll at Oregon. … The Gonzaga women's golf team will play in the NCAA regional for a second consecutive year.
• Preps: Lewis and Clark's soccer team is in first place in the GSL. But this week's matches will tell that tale, as Jim Allen's story explains. … A former Mead wrestler has discovered a calling that's a bit different than his sport.
• Seahawks: As free agents left the Hawks this offseason, the reason given for the lack of high-end offers by Seattle was it was saving money for its key young players. Some scoffed. Then yesterday the news leaked the Hawks and safety Earl Thomas had reached agreement on a contract extension. Now we know why they had to bank some money. … Is Thomas worth all the cash? Well, here's what he means to the Hawks. And what his signing means to the salary cap. You decide. … Seattle makes official a front-office consultant hire. … Sidney Rice is working to get back into game shape.
• Mariners: The M's are in New York to face the Yankees. That means Robinson Cano is back in the Bronx for the first time in another uniform. So of course he made an appearance on a late-night show. It was funny. Now how the fans at the stadium will treat him is still to be determined. … The M's Big Three have been anything but so far. Though they've showed glimpses. … Kyle Seager shared player of the week honors for his performances last week.
• Sounders: Clint Dempsey had another outstanding game but didn't win player of the week honors again.
• NBA: Not only do we have a couple more Sterling columns from Los Angeles to share, we also have Steve Kelley's memories of Jack Ramsay. Kelley was a young beat writer at The Oregonian when Ramsay and the Blazers were near the top of the NBA world.
• You like spring? I do. And I think I'm really going to like the next few days. Unless, of course, I can't get the lawn mower going. Then I'm in trouble. Until later …