On the court

Behind The News
June 5, 2008 2:07:48 PM PDT
My first real memories of pro basketball involved the Los Angeles Lakers, and their arch nemesis, the Boston Celtics. The matchups were fierce, and the stakes were always enormous: The World Championship. (Even as a teen that always puzzled me, given that the teams play in the lower 48, which makes it a national, not a world event. But I digress.) I was supposed to hate the Celtics, if only because they always seemed to beat the Lakers. But they were a hard team to hate, with Bill Russell and K.C. Jones and Sam Jones and Bob Cousy. They were such a good team, with the emphasis on team.

The Lakers were good as well. Really good. And they played as a team too, led by Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.

The Lakers vs. Celtics were the Yankees vs. Dodgers of the time. Both cities went nutso, and the television network that carried the final series loved it when it was Boston against Los Angeles.

Years later, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird would light the Lakers vs. Celtics flame once again, and those two single handedly helped reinvigorate what had been a sport in popular decline.

Tonight, for the first time since 1987, it's the Lakers against the Celtics for all the marbles in the NBA. And the TV network that will carry the series is ABC.

I long ago stopped rooting for teams, but there is something magical about this match up.

I bring this up at the top of this column because the series, which starts tonight, means that our 11 p.m. newscast won't start at 11 p.m. It's scheduled to start at 11:30, but that will depend on when these large men finally stop playing their game.

Now to the newscast tonight. It might not mean much, given that he's already been re-elected and he's a lame duck and two-thirds of Americans think the war in Iraq was a mistake, but President Bush and his Vice President, Dick Cheney, taking it on the chins today from the Senate Intelligence Committee.

The President and his advisors "undertook a relentless public campaign" after the 9-11 attacks "to use the war against Al Qaeda as a justification for overthrowing Saddam Hussein."

We'll have the latest on the committee's report, tonight at 11.

We're also following developments in the political drama still unfolding with Hillary Clinton. The New York Democratic Congressional delegation today has now come on board the Barak Obama Presidential train. They were backing Hillary Clinton, but last night three of them -- Greg Meeks, Edolphus Towns and Yvette Clarke -- jumped the gun a bit and came out in favor of Obama. The rest of the delegation came out today, unofficially -- two days before Sen. Clinton will formally endorse Obama for President.

As for Clinton and talk of her selection as a running mate, the debate continues: Will she help the ticket, and, if Obama wins, will he be able to manage two Clintons in subordinate roles in the White House?

This afternoon, Sen. Clinton issued a statement, addressing the running mate question. "While Sen. Clinton has made clear throughout this process that she will do whatever she can to elect a Democrat to the White House, she is not seeking the vice presidency, and no one speaks for her but her. The choice here is Sen. Obama's and his alone."

So there.

And late this afternoon, Obama reacted to all the hubbub - "I think everybody just needs to settle down. We've just completed this arduous process. It's only been two days. And you know, I think it's both -- not just in my interests and Senator Clinton's interests, but in the Democratic Party's interests and the country's interest to make sure that I make this decision well. And I will be deliberate and systematic about it, because this will be my final counselor when I'm making decisions in the White House. And I want to make sure that I get it right."

We'll also have any breaking news of the night, plus Lee Goldberg's very warm AccuWeather forecast, and Scott Clark with the night's sports. I hope you can join Liz Cho and me, tonight, after the basketball game.