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Second Thoughts

There to help, former Lakers tell new coach

By Compiled by Todd J. Pearce and Tom Murphy Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

This article was published August 1, 2014 at 2:13 a.m.


New Los Angeles Lakers Coach Byron Scott said he knows he will be getting help from his old teammates at his new job.

Former guard Byron Scott was introduced as the Los Angeles Lakers coach earlier this week, but as Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times wrote, Scott's introductory news conference felt more like a class reunion.

"Jamaal Wilkes was 'Silk.' Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was 'Cap,' " Elliott wrote. "Magic Johnson, conspicuous Tuesday after having distanced himself during most of the Lakers' disastrous season -- except to condemn Mike D'Antoni's coaching -- was Earvin or 'Buck.'

The three stood on the podium behind Scott -- 'B' in their shorthand -- in a show of support they said was more than symbolic.

" 'His confidence and leadership and knowledge of the game will definitely benefit this team, and hopefully this is the point where things start to turn around,' Abdul-Jabbar said. 'Welcome home B, we're going to be down there bothering you every night.'

"What a kidder. And maybe not.

" 'They weren't joking,' Scott said a few minutes later.

" 'These guys are not only my great friends, but they're great basketball players, and obviously they have great basketball minds.'

"What's different is that in backing Scott so enthusiastically, Johnson moved back into the embrace of a team whose decline he had watched with undisguised horror. Magic will be back, even if the magic of the Showtime era won't be recreated.

"Johnson, who sold his nearly 5 percent ownership stake in the club in 2010, won't send in plays. Nor will any other former teammates.

" 'I don't have a problem every now and then talking with them about things that are going on with the team. But make no mistake, I am my own man,' Scott said. 'I have my own ideas and I'm going to do things the way I want to do things.' "

Playing possum

From a bee invasion to power failures, there have been some strange causes for delays in baseball games this season.

What happened during the Quad City River Bandits (A Astros) game against the Clinton LumberKings, a Class A Mariners affiliate, on Wednesday in Davenport, Iowa, could have been the most unusual yet.

The game was delayed several minutes after an opossum ran onto the field, leading to an entertaining chase. Pictures and video posted on the MLB Fan Cave's webpage show the opossum being covered with a trash can on the infield dirt. A team employee then lifted the opossum by the tail, deposited it back in the trash can and left the field.

It may have been the break the River Bandits needed, as the defending Midwest League champions overcame a 4-0 deficit to earn a 6-5 victory.

No word yet whether the marsupial was related to Otey, the Arkansas Travelers mascot which was introduced this season.

Not having a ball

Arkansas Coach Dave Van Horn said Team USA tried to get officials in the Netherlands to replace the baseball used for the Haarlemse Honkbalweek tournament with a harder ball, but could not get them to change it out.

"We got to the Netherlands and we were using a Nerf Ball," Van Horn said. "That ball was horrible."

The 24-man collegiate national team, led by Van Horn, lost their opener in the tournament, but then won seven in a row and defeated Japan 6-3 in the championship game on July 20.

"The USA people, we were upset," Van Horn said. "We tried to get the ball changed. It was a problem. We didn't hit one home run in eight games.

"It's the ball. I'm just telling you, it's the ball. I brought back [from Team USA's international tour] every baseball that I could. I brought back a big league ball, a minor league ball, an international ball, and the cream-puff ball."

Sports quiz

Where did Byron Scott play college basketball?


Scott played at Arizona State in 1979-1983 before being drafted by the San Diego Clippers with the fourth overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft.

Sports on 08/01/2014

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