Bryant, Donovan could use lasting lesson in keeping their first word

Wondering if Florida basketball coach Billy Donovan’s decision to renege on his deal with the NBA’s Orlando Magic had anything to do with the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant deciding he doesn’t want to be traded after saying he did, which came after saying he didn’t, which came after saying he did:

Hell’s sake, our head is spinning more today than actress Linda Blair’s did in 1973’s "The Exorcist." If this keeps up we’ll be spitting up — and it won’t be pea soup!

Of course, the two changes of heart, or of mind — or of gutless decision-making — over the past week have nothing to do with each other. It would be much too simple to theorize that Donovan thought he had a chance of landing the unhappy Bryant in Orlando, and that compelled him to leave the college program he built into a mini-dynasty with back-to-back NCAA titles.

But, just for once, when someone says they’re going to do something can they at least honor their "first" word?

While Donovan is staying in Gainesville, how many more times this summer will Bryant say he wants out of Los Angeles, only to announce less than 24 hours later that he really doesn’t?

You know, Bryant is more indecisive than a wife trying to choose what size diamond will allow her to forgive and forget when her husband has cheated on her. …

• Sorry, Kobe, but Michael Jordan’s words about the Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James to the Chicago Tribune for Monday’s edition sounded an awful lot like the official passing of the torch of NBA greatness — right over your ego-inflated head!

"Making ‘The Leap’ is where you do it every single night," Jordan said of James. "It’s expected of you, and you do it. … Not one game, not two games. It’s consistent. Every defense comes in and they focus on you, and you still impact the game. I think he’s shown signs of that."

"King James," as the only-22-year-old LeBron unfortunately has been tagged by the media, apparently has made "The Leap" over Bryant in the assessment of the best ever to play the game. That apparently makes James — not Bryant — the "Air-Apparent" to Air Jordan. …

• The name Chris Pronger might not immediately strike a chord with you because virtually NO ONE is paying attention to the Stanley Cup Finals — as abysmal TV ratings show.

But this Anaheim Duck could be viewed as an Anaheim Schmuck to some, with hits to the heads of two opponents during the NHL playoffs — most recently to the Ottawa Senators’ Dean McAmmond in Saturday’s Game 3.

An elbow to the head, no matter how unintentional, resulted in a league suspension. Physically aggressive though hockey might be, no player in his right mind — one who hasn’t taken an elbow to the head, that is — would purposely put himself in a position to miss a key game in the Stanley Cup Finals. …

• Let’s see, with the dugout dust-up between pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Michael Barrett on Friday and manager Lou Piniella’s third-base meltdown Saturday against umpire Mark Wegner, the Chicago Schlubs are a bigger mess than usual.

Not only have they lost 10 of their past 14 games to fall 6 1/2 games back in the National League Central, they’re coming apart at the baseball seams.

C’mon, aren’t they the butt of enough jokes already? …

• It isn’t just male athletes who occasionally get a little too physical. How about Indy Racing League "yet-to-earn-a-name-for-herself" racer Danica Patrick, who shoved fellow driver Dan Wheldon — the 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner — following a wheel-bumping incident during Sunday’s A.J. Foyt 225 outside Milwaukee?

"She’s messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty," the Englishman said. "I’m a lot tougher than she is on the track."

That goes without saying. What doesn’t go without saying is why IRL honchos haven’t punished Patrick for laying hands on another driver.

Just because she’s female doesn’t mean she should be handled with kid racing gloves. …

• Here’s one for racing fans to chuckle over: The rain delay during the Indy 500 on May 27 outdrew not one, not two, but three televised NBA playoff games over the same week. …

• Comparing hometown franchises: The Arena Football League’s 2-11 Gladiators need just one more defeat in their final three games to match the same number of losses that the ECHL’s Wranglers had in regulation over 72 games this past season.

Sorry, we couldn’t help being a little, um, puckish.

Joe Hawk is the Review-Journal’s sports editor. He can be reached at 387-2912 or jhawk@reviewjournal.com.

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