The sports world lost one of its greats last week when Scottie Pippen retired from the NBA. What made the longtime Chicago Bull so great was he never let his considerable abilities or ego get in the way of one fact -- he was Michael Jordan's sidekick/right-hand man. He accepted that, played his role as second fiddle perfectly and was rewarded with six championships.
In a sports world where pro athletes are most often motivated by ego first and money second, Pippen was a shining example of what sports and athletes should be -- and used to be -- all about.
Jordan and Pippen knew they needed each other to win titles.
No one is going to learn this lesson better than Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, whose egos forced them to part ways.
They are about to find out that without one another they're no longer championship material.
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AROUND THE HORN: Last Monday, for the first time since 1999, the city of Chicago went an entire day without a murder or shooting of any type. In a city that typically sees 600 murders and 3,000 shootings a year police admit they may have overlooked a felony or two simply because they were concentrating their efforts on investigating the massive choking down at Wrigley Field. Then again, maybe everyone just ran out of ammo ... Somebody alert hotel security in Turin: Chris Chelios is now training for the U.S. Bobsled team with hopes of returning to the Olympics in 2006 as a Greek competitor ... Is it just me or does Ricky Williams' interest in playing again sound like a tokin' gesture? ... For those wondering if either side in the NHL dispute has anything new to say, tune in to NHL on TSN Hotseat tomorrow night when NHLPA rep Ted Saskin and league VP Bill Daley will face the music ... No pro league gets infinitely more interesting and exciting in the playoffs than .
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ODDS & ENDS: From the time the Boston Red Sox acquired Curt Shilling and the Yankees acquired A-Rod, no one doubted those two teams would renew one of the greatest rivalries in sports history in this year's American League Championship. When something that compelling is on TV, I say hockey be damned ... Darryl Sutter while at Father Bauer Arena watching AJHL action: "To be honest, I love this stuff. It's refreshing to see the kids work hard." ... Just as Hockey Canada decided to take out the red line at centre ice for minor hockey leagues across Canada, most of the European pro leagues put it back in to be more like the NHL ... The heated confrontation between Dodgers outfield Milton Bradley and a reporter who Bradley deemed an 'Uncle Tom' was caught on videotape last week only to have team officials order the reporter and cameraman to have it erased. The reporter insists he was intimidated, cornered and threatened with having his credentials pulled if he didn't wipe out the footage. Team media relations director John Olguin allegedly told the crew "that tape is not going to leave the locker-room," and then hovered over the duo until they destroyed the footage. Olguin claims his concern revolved around the camera angle of the incident, which he was worried captured naked players in the background. Parker Brothers refused comment ... For those wondering if anyone outside Calgary remembers Calgary's playoff run or the Red Mile should know EA Sports' NHL 2005 opens with footage outside the 'Dome of frenzied Flames fans chanting and cheering during the Stanley Cup final.
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PARTING GIFTS: The next guy who thinks he's funny by suggesting Tiger Woods' marriage won't last "because he's a swinger" gets a five-wood in the chops ... Want to get a taste how good AJHL hockey is down at Max Bell Centre and Father David Bauer Arena? Just check out calgarycanucks.com and watch Canucks home games video streamed live ... Terrell Owens is still at it. He's still taking swipes at Jeff Garcia and he's still shamelessly promoting himself and his endorsement deals. On yesterday's pre-game show on Fox, the Eagles receiver was asked what the difference was between the offence he saw in San Francisco compared to the one he enjoys now in Philly: "I obviously have a good quarterback to throw me the ball now." When asked if he disliked Garcia, he said: "No, I don't. I just felt like with a quarterback like that and a receiver like myself we could have done more." With that, he pulled out copies of his book and told everyone in studio he'd gladly autograph them with the Sharpie he pulled out of his pocket.
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PARTING SHOTS: Real sports fans know there aren't many good sports movies out there, so when something as brilliant as Friday Night Lights comes along you'd best get out to see it ... No, sports fans, Fox TV's My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss has nothing to do with George Steinbrenner ... Dale Earnhardt is docked crucial championship points for swearing on TV after a recent race. What a load of #$%@ ... Annika Sorenstam when asked by CNBC's Dennis Miller if certain events on the LPGA Tour are like 'Lesbian-Palooza': "I like to stay in the fairway and (on) the greens, so I don't see much of that." ... Strange that Tiger Woods imported 500 roses for his wedding last week as he's been hitting out of the tulips ever since he met his bride.