Fast Break Thoughts

Kurt —  August 29, 2007

Thoughts while waiting for the Notre Dame/Georgia Tech kick-off……

• Yesterday in the comments I asked for thoughts about what makes Kobe “KOBE.” Great answers, particularly Craig W. All of that pushed me into giving better answers to Tom Ziller from Fanhouse (and Sactown Royalty) on why Kobe deserved their ranking as the number one “cornerstone” player in the NBA. You can read his post with my comments — inspired by yours — here.

• Interesting that the smart folks at Fanhouse went with Kobe over Wade and LeBron. Not to knock Kobe, who I think is the better player right now, but LeBron would be my choice as he is much younger. However, if you are saying who do you take without age or contract mattering I take Kobe. Well, unless I can get Shaq circa 1999-2000 and keep him frozen in time.

• Sort of looking forward to the USA/Argentina game Thursday, just to see if anyone can push the USA in this tournament. Like many of you, I find myself tuning out early in USA games because they are so dominant it’s just not fun to watch. Team USA is starting to look bored as well.

• All that matters for Team USA now — win Saturday. Do that and you get the Olympic hall pass.

• Just got my first HDTV, made sure I set it up, so I can watch those USA hoops games in low def. At least the US Open is in HD — the tennis looks a little better, but the establishing shots of New York in HD are stunning.

• Great note by former Laker beat writer Ross Siler, now with the Salt Lake Tribune, about the “Wiki-Walton” phenomenon during this tournament (hat tip to True Hoop):

The story of the tournament, if anyone wants to write it, has to be the opportunity these blowouts have presented for Walton to detail the cultural and political history of the U.S. opponents, as well as their major geographical landmarks.

Who would have guessed, for example, that one man knew so much about the Sea of Cortez? It’s like Walton’s playing Trivial Pursuit against himself from behind the microphone. He is his own Wikipedia.

We learned Monday that Mexico City is home to the world’s second-largest public square and that Latinos in America have a purchasing power of some $800 billion. We learned that Walton used to cross the border growing up in San Diego to play basketball in Tijuana.

We heard about the devastation of Hurricane Dean, about the Baja Peninsula being the world’s third-longest peninsula (not to mention that the main road wasn’t paved until the 1970s) and one man controls 14 percent of Mexico’s entire economy.

Just imagine what Walton will come up with for the Uruguay game on Wednesday. And imagine how great it would have been to lock Walton and Chavez in a room somewhere in Caracas this summer.

• Walton and the ESPN crew are doing these games from a studio in Bristol, not in Vegas. They did that last year in Japan, and I got that, lots of travel there. But Vegas? Strikes me as another sign of the focus on the Entertainment and not so much the Sports at ESPN these days.