Heisler: Jim Buss sticks head up, gets pie to face

first_imgMoving Jim out — as Jeanie has promised to do if they’re not in the Western Conference Finals in two seasons — won’t help.Whether Jeanie means it or not — and she has publicly stated that she does — pigs are as likely to fly as the Lakers are to make the Western finals by next season.So for those who want to count down, that would leave 535 days in Jim’s executive career.Jim has, sensibly, holed up but, being Jim, sticks his head out now and then to take a pie in the face.Before his father involved him with the team, Jim told Sports Illustrated, “If you grabbed 10 fans out of a bar … their opinions would be pretty much identical to those of pro scouts.”Jim has tried to prove the point ever since. The Lakers won five titles with him in the loop, if never in charge.Unfortunately, his father passed away in 2013 with the glory days over and bad about to go to worse.Jim popped his head up again last week in a sit-down with USA Today’s Sam Amick that showed Jimbo hasn’t lost his touch for inviting mayhem.Musing about the mystery of his bad image was OK. Trying to stick it to Magic Johnson, a constant critic, was pure entitlement a la Jimbo.“Magic Johnson going nuts on me?” says Jim. “It’s like, ‘Really, dude? My Dad made you a billionaire almost. Really? Where are you coming from?’ ”Actually, it’s more like Magic almost made a billionaire out of Jim’s dad.As for where Magic is coming from, it’s the same place that Lakers fans are.Johnson applied the coup de grace in a statement to USA Today, replying, “It’s about winning, Jim.”Happily for Lakers fans, the bottom line is that the team is still professionally run in the kind of transition that even great franchises must endure (except the Spurs), despite being beset by an amazing run of bad luck as if making up for decades of good fortune.Jerry Buss didn’t interfere with his basketball people except for a few celebrated instances, like making Jerry West take Dennis Rodman in 1999.In those days, it was Jerry, Jim and Mitch in the room. Now it’s just Jim and Mitch. Insiders say Jim has never ordered Kupchak to do something, or put his judgement ahead of Mitch’s.With the Lakers at a historic nadir, you hear a lot about what’s wrong, almost all of it wrong like Jimbo’s presence, or Kobe Bryant’s, or their skepticism about analytics.Talk about dumb. The Lakers dream would be to get West, the best GM since Red Auerbach’s day, to return. West has no use for analytics, either.Last week LaMarcus Aldrdige went out of his way to note that he regarded Kobe’s presence as one of the most positive things when he met with the Lakers.Kupchak ritually defends Jim, but who listens?If Jeanie sticks to her guns, only one thing will bail out Jimbo: Good luck.Mark Heisler has written an NBA column since 1991 and was honored with the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Award in 2006. His column is published Sundays in Los Angeles News Group print editions. I’ve been talking to Lakers people who were involved since that went down the night of Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. As one said unequivocally: “Dr. Buss was the decision-maker.”Jim is hardly the only son or daughter running Dad’s team (see: Jim Dolan, Knicks; Michael Reinsdorf, Bulls; Josh Kroenke, Nuggets; Gail Miller, Jazz). Of course, some, like Kroenke, who played at Missouri, had actual credentials and/or worked their way up in the office, putting in eight hours a day in the office, which Jim didn’t.Nevertheless, Jimbo invited scorn by saying dumb things. Worse, he was the Buss left holding the bag, appearing to take over — although he hadn’t — when the Lakers started into their nosedive.In the bad news for Lakers fans, dumping Jim won’t matter.With Jeanie asserting her role as No. 1 Buss and GM Mitch Kupchak free to run the team as he always has, Jim doesn’t hurt, aside from PR blunders. They were in the right place but it must have been the wrong time. …If more heads may have to roll before the Lakers return to greatness, none is as eagerly awaited as the one under Jim Buss’s baseball cap.Jim doesn’t deserve the flak he gets from Lakers fans but neither did Mike D’Antoni, who was run out on a rail from the day he was hired instead of Phil Jackson.No, Jim didn’t do that. Jerry Buss did, despite the “stab in the back” charge that Jeanie levelled at her brother.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Why did the Big Ten move Ohio State vs. Michigan? Making sense of The Game’s new date on 2020 football schedule

first_imgThe schedule at least left some wiggle room, however. Both teams have bye weeks on Nov. 14, and the open date on Nov. 28 for all the teams is built in just in case the COVID-19 pandemic forces more games to be moved around. Perhaps Michigan-Ohio State gets moved again at some point, but you can’t root for that to happen. That would mean the schedule has been affected even more by the pandemic. Nobody wants that.  At least we still get The Game. Michigan and Ohio State fans live for it every single day. That’s why that text happened seconds after the announcement. That’s why Sept. 24 will not feel the same.   Especially if and when they move Ohio State-Michigan from its traditional noon slot to primetime. “It’s heartbreaking, to be honest with you. But adaptability, sacrifice are all gonna be critical on everyone’s part,” Meyer said on the Big Ten Network. Meyer knows the rivalry best. He was 7-0 as a head coach against the Wolverines. The Big Ten, however, sacrificed its biggest tradition. You can try to understand the Big Ten logic and television networks’ decision-making process. They want to make sure that big-time rivalry game happens to help drive the revenue that could be lost if the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forces a partial cancellation of the 2020 college football season. They took a cue from the Pac-12, which put USC-UCLA in its opening week on Sept. 26.  MORE: Ranking every top five showdown between Michigan and Ohio StateThe Game has been one-sided, with the Buckeyes winning 15 of the past 16 meetings. Rumors that The Game would be moved were floated last week, so at least there was some preparation for it. That’s the why. You try to make some sense of it all, then you see it makes no sense at all. It still leads to some illogical conclucsions. If you’re going to move it up just to get it in, then why not put it in September? Why would you slot that game in the middle of October? Why not try to provide a sense of normalcy in that unstable environment? The reaction from both sides is the truth. The Game — even in the current college football landscape — belongs in the last week of the regular season. If Indiana and Purdue can play for the Old Oaken Bucket in the final week of the regular season on Nov. 21, then Ohio State and Michigan can play in that slot, too. Look at both teams’ schedules. The Buckeyes are playing Michigan before Halloween, and they play an equally important game in terms of the Big Ten East race at Penn State on Nov. 7. Why not move that game up instead?  Ohio State has a bye week before the regular-season finale against Iowa. Nothing screams Senior Day quite like a home game at The Shoe against the Hawkeyes.  The schedule doesn’t do Michigan any favors either, other than bringing Michigan State back to the Big House for a second straight season. The Wolverines have to play Wisconsin the week after The Game, and they close the season with Maryland on Nov. 7 and a road game at Northwestern on Nov. 21.  By moving the game, the buildup to The Game has been effectively wiped out. November simply doesn’t mean as much. You’ve seen this with other rivalries, such as Bedlam between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, which is no longer played in the final week of the regular season. It’s a precedent that might change college football’s best rivalry.  For a conference that thrives on tradition and holds that rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State so close, it’s a move that concedes that the entire regular season might not happen. Ohio State and Michigan design their programs around those three-and-a-half-hours. Legacies are defined by it. It’s always been that way. Will it always be that way after 2020? Even if Michigan-Ohio State does happen, it won’t feel the same. You’ll have ruined Halloween for the losing fan base. You’ll have taken away those Thanksgiving week traditions both sides enjoy so much. There is still something to be said for trying to play the game at the right time, even in the current conditions. That’s the way it should be. The 2007 HBO documentary “Michigan vs. Ohio State: The Rivalry” painted that tradition best during a montage that illustrates how much that tradition means to both sides of the rivalry. A voiceover says it all:  “One of the things that makes the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry so great and separates it from other sports rivalries is not only does it happen once a year, it happens at the same time every year. And all great traditions in most cultures happen at the same time.” The players can say what they want. Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields talked about Michigan on a teleconference Tuesday.  Justin Fields is ready for the Michigan game.”I don’t care when we play that team up north,” he said. “I just want to play them and beat the brakes off them.”— Kyle Rowland (@KyleRowland) August 4, 2020For the fans, however, it cuts deeper. It does not matter how many fans — if any — are allowed in Ohio Stadium for that game. It does not matter who has the better record. The Game is the most important thing on the schedule — and if you think fans are over-reacting, wait and see what happens if the SEC moves the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn up to October.   “Why are they not making the OSU/Mich game last game of the season?”  That’s the text I received from a thread with my three best friends seconds after the Big Ten schedule was released Wednesday morning. Michigan will play at Ohio State on Oct. 24 this year — a change that former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said “takes your breath away.”  last_img read more

Tuesday July 9th Local Sports

first_imgIOWA CITY — Two players coming off redshirt years are expected to play a larger role for the Iowa basketball team. With the loss of Tyler Cook to the pros, Isaiah Moss to Kansas and a possible redshirt year for Jordan Bohannon the Hawkeyes have holes to fill. Forward Cordell Pemsl enters his junior season after playing in only two games before undergoing season ending knee surgery.Guard C.J. Fredrick arrived on campus weighing 170 pounds. The 2018 Kentucky Player of the Year added 25 pounds to his frame.Fredrick is looking forward to his first season on the court. FORT DODGE — Mason City High staged a pair of comebacks to sweep a baseball doubleheader at Fort Dodge last night. The Dodgers were ahead 7-3 in the opener before the Mohawks scored 10 unanswered runs, including five in the third inning, as Mason City won 13-7. Connor Dalen in the nightcap had a two-run double with two outs in the top of the seventh to push the Mohawks ahead, and then they added on four more runs to pick up a 9-4 win. Dalen ended up with four hits in the doubleheader, while Alex Gold had five runs batted in and Dawson Wedeking knocked in four. Mason City improves to 22-11 on the season and will host Dowling in a doubleheader on Wednesday night. MASON CITY — Newman started out Class 1A Region 8 softball tournament play last night with an 11-1, five-inning win over West Bend-Mallard, as you heard on AM-1300 KGLO. Hailey Worman and Leah Martinez both knocked in two runs while catcher Macy Alexander returned to the lineup, going 1-for-3 with an RBI. Paige Leininger picked up the win, striking out five and allowing only four hits. Newman is now 20-13 on the season and will host Rockford in the regional quarterfinal round tomorrow night in a game you’ll hear on KGLO starting at 7 o’clock. Rockford beat West Hancock 11-1 last night. === Class 2A Region 7Dike-New Hartford 14, Lake Mills 8 HUMBOLDT — Humboldt avenged their lone conference loss and clinched the North Central Conference title with a 10-0, five-inning win over Clear Lake last night in high school softball. Ashlyn Clark, who is battling Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and has been playing in between chemotherapy treatments, hit her first career home run and went 3-for-3 with four runs batted in. Ellie Jacobson fired a no-hitter, striking out eight. Humboldt wins their fourth consecutive conference title with a 13-1 record, one game ahead of Webster City. Clear Lake ends the conference portion of the schedule with a 5-9 record and the regular season at 9-14. Clear Lake hosts Garner-Hayfield-Ventura in a Class 3A regional quarterfinal tomorrow night at 7:30 that you’ll hear on AM-1490 & 96.7-FM KRIB. FORT DODGE — 3rd-ranked Fort Dodge swept Mason City last night 9-0 and 14-4 in CIML softball at the Rogers Sports Complex in Fort Dodge. Mason City ends the regular season with a 16-21 overall record and 4-14 in the conference. The Mohawks will host Waverly-Shell Rock in a Class 4A regional quarterfinal contest on Thursday night, a game you’ll hear on KGLO starting at about 7 o’clock. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have finalized the acquisition of six players for roster depth and reserve roles, including forward Jake Layman in a sign-and-trade deal with Portland. Another trade that brought them guard Shabazz Napier and forward Treveon Graham from Golden State was done. Additionally, the Timberwolves signed rookie Jarrett Culver and free agent forward Noah Vonleh and claimed guard Tyrone Wallace off waivers from the Los Angeles Clippers. Culver was the sixth pick in the draft. MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins deserve this All-Star break as much as any team in baseball. They have been in first place in the American League Central since April 20. The Twins have seen nine of their 13 most-used position players land on the injured list during that time, too. The extra rest this week will be especially helpful. Waiting for them after the break in Cleveland will be the resurgent Indians.center_img QUAD CITIES — Michael Kim hopes to recapture some magic this week at the John Deere Classic. The 25-year-old Kim posted his first and only PGA Tour victory a year ago in the Quad Cities but is suffering through a dreadful 2019 season that has seen him miss the cut in 14 straight tournaments.Kim hopes returning to a course he has won on will help jump start his season.Kim says the TPC at Deere Run suits his style of play.The opening round of the John Deere Classic is Thursday. — other baseballCentral Springs 18, North Butler 2 (4 innings)Saint Ansgar 15, Nashua-Plainfield 0Saint Ansgar 4, Lake Mills 1West Fork 6, Turkey Valley 1 === Class 2A Region 1Belmond-Klemme 11, Eagle Grove 5 === Class 1A Region 8St. Edmond 8, Riceville 3Northwood-Kensett 19, North Iowa 2Nashua-Plainfield 7, West Fork 6 HUMBOLDT — Humboldt scored twice in the bottom of the sixth inning, with the go-ahead run scoring on a wild pitch that bounced over the backstop, as the Wildcats beat Clear Lake 6-5 in North Central Conference baseball last night, as you heard on AM-1490 & 96.7-FM KRIB. Clear Lake batted around in the second to take a 5-1 lead, but the Wildcats chipped away with two in the third, one in the fourth, and the final two runs in the sixth. Clear Lake drops to 13-12 overall and 8-4 in the conference and will turn right around and travel to Iowa Falls-Alden tonight. — other regular-season softballIowa Falls-Alden 6, Garner-Hayfield-Ventura 1Webster City 12, Forest City 0last_img read more