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Nothing can pre-empt the Lake Show

Rambling toward the summer

Bill Simmons offers his thoughts on everything from the Suns, Tom Brady and Lester's no-no to "Iron Man" and "The Hills." Story

Thoughts while counting down the days to an all-new episode of “The Bill Engvall Show” …

So Kobe Bryant stops sulking, makes small talk with teammates, buys them dinner every once in a while, gives them $9,000 watches and occasionally passes the ball to them? I take it back … he is a great guy!

When you order the Jamba Juice with the fiber boost, you’re basically telling the guy behind the counter and everyone else in line, “I’m a little backed up right now.”

Braylon EdwardsWill you ever hear the name “Braylon Edwards” again without immediately thinking of Buzz Bissinger? Braylon could be sprinting toward the winning touchdown of Super Bowl XLIV and I’d be thinking about Buzz dropping F-bombs with rabies foam dribbling from his mouth.

If hell has a cable channel like ESPN Classic, it’s definitely showing a never-ending loop of fights involving Bernard Hopkins or Johnny Ruiz.

Here’s my advice to Stan Van Gundy: Give in to the Ron Jeremy thing, embrace it and hire Joey Silvera, Herschel Savage and Randy West as your assistant coaches.

I’m the kind of guy who watched the emotional feature about the softball player who tore her ACL while homering then got carried around the bases by the other team and thought, “No way they’re carrying her 240 feet if it’s the catcher.”

If the Phoenix Suns have the greatest medical staff in sports, then the Anaheim Angels are the Bizarro Suns. Every time an Angels player tweaks a hamstring, he ends up playing in 27 rehab games and missing two months of the season. It’s astounding. If Howie Kendrick and Torii Hunter ever collided on a popup, I think they’d be on the DL until 2013. How has this not been the subject of a 7,500-word investigative feature by Will Carroll yet?

I’ll be honest: When Terry Francona gave Jon Lester the extra-long hug after Monday’s no-hitter, it didn’t just get a little dusty at the Sports Guy Mansion, it got “Brian’s Song”-level dusty.

Changed my mind on “The Net” being the most dated movie of the past 15 years; now I’m thinking it’s “American Pie.” A group of high school seniors desperately trying to lose their virginity before they graduate? Really? For that movie to make sense in 2008, they’d have to remake that plot with eighth graders and hire Miley Cyrus for the Shannon Elizabeth part.

(Here’s when I remember I have a young daughter.)

(And here’s when I slam my head into my desk a few times.)

David TyreeJust when I thought I was getting over Super Bowl XLII, I saw a commercial for the Giants’ championship DVD, started thinking about how New England’s 19-0 highlight film could have been called “The Eff-You DVD,” and that led me onto YouTube to get tortured by the Helmet Catch another 20 times.

(Important note: On my 377th viewing of David Tyree’s grab, I officially talked myself into the whole “That play should have been reviewed because the nose of the ball briefly touched the ground” thing. Or maybe it was reviewed. I can’t even remember. The only thing I remember about the last two minutes of that game was the blood slowly draining from my dad’s face. Let’s just move on.)

Thanks for your concern, but I won’t be able to summon an adequate reaction for Michael from “The Wire” joining the new “90210” show until late July or early August. And not a moment sooner.

Hey, just because the Mavs are long gone from the playoffs doesn’t mean we have to stop making Josh Howard jokes, right? Can we call the 2008 Mavericks team video “Howard and Kumar”? Do you think he ever tried to get Shawn Bradley high? Has Visine approached him about becoming its new endorser yet? Does he own a 7-foot bong that he named “Desagana?” How many times do you think he toked up with a teammate, then fell over in hysterics imitating Avery Johnson’s voice? And can ESPN organize a Josh Howard roast so I can stand on a dais and make these jokes as someone like Jerry Stackhouse keels over in hysterics and does the slumped-over-and-pounding-the-table routine?

(Whoops, I forgot — you’ll see Danny Moder leave Julia Roberts alone for the night with George Clooney before you see ESPN get involved with another roast. Scratch that thought.)

Congrats to John Mayer for officially replacing Adam Duritz as this generation’s token “sensitive musician who has bagged so many Hollywood babes that every other red-blooded male is rooting for him to get into a disfiguring accident, so when he turns into a sweaty, overweight guy 15 years from now, we’ll all feel a sick sense of satisfaction about the whole thing.” Big year for him.

I’d like to see someone on YouTube attempt Oscar de la Hoya’s prefight jaw stretching, Jose Canseco’s between-pitch blinking and Nomar’s between-pitch batting glove routine at the exact same time. It’s impossible, I say.

When Spencer and Heidi finally reproduce so they can pocket the baby photo money from Us Weekly, they have to name the kid “Damien,” right?

Sidney CrosbySid the Kid, the return of Don Cherry, the old Flyers uniforms, Montreal self-combusting, the four-OT game, Bucci and Barry, Chris Osgood clipping the dude with the butt of his stick, HD telecasts, a Wings-Pens Finals … I have to admit, I’m enjoying the NHL playoffs. No, really. I even figured out how to find the games on my cable system and everything.

Look, I don’t care if it’s a movie, and I don’t care if it happened 22 years ago, there’s no way Cruise and Edwards take a game off Rossovich and Kilmer, much less the entire volleyball match. It’s not happening.

Put it this way: If the Spurs-Lakers series goes the distance, I see a Game 7 officiating crew of Bennett Salvatore, Adam Silver and Jack Nicholson, as well as every Spurs starter fouling out and Gregg Popovich getting two quick T’s and being removed from the court on one of those Hannibal Lecter stretchers. And that’s a conservative prediction.

Now that “American Idol” has run out of famous singers for tribute episodes (Dolly Parton?), I vote for a “One-Hit Wonders” episode next season. Imagine the excitement this year had David Cook gone to meet Jamie Walters during Jamie’s 11-to-7 shift at Home Depot, then they worked on the arrangement for “Hold On” together.

Speaking of “Idol,” you know this whole David Archuleta thing has to be absolutely killing Michael Jackson, right? Twenty years ago, poor David would have been wearing a sequined glove and sleeping over at Neverland Ranch by now.

I’m not sure if Byron Scott should have benched Jannero Pargo in Game 7, clotheslined Pargo as he was running by the Hornets bench, or just shot Pargo in the leg with a BB gun, but regardless, you really don’t want Jannero Pargo deciding your NBA season. It’s one of my rules in life.

(The good news is the word “Pargo” could now apply to all people who overstep their bounds in a big situation — like if you’re attending a rehearsal dinner in which some drunken cousin gives a 20-minute toast to the bride and groom, you could say to a buddy, “Uh-oh, I think he’s going Pargo on us.”)

Pop quiz: Explain the significance behind “22 innings pitched, 47 baserunners, eight home runs, zero wins, four losses, 9.00 ERA.”

(I’ll give you a second.)

(And … time!)

Yup, those are the 2008 stats for Phil Hughes.

(Did you know the Yankees refused to include him in a deal for Johan Santana? No, really! I swear to God!)

Gisele BundchenOK, I finally figured out why Tom Brady settled down with Gisele: She’s the only woman on the planet who could make him jealous at this point. Every time it seems like he’s getting bored, she only has to say something like, “Hey, Leo’s in town. You don’t mind if I get coffee with him tomorrow for old time’s sake, do you?” … and he’s sucked right back in. No other woman on the planet could play the Leo card with Brady. And that’s why they’re together.

(Hold on, I’m breaking out the Lloyd Bentsen voice for this next one …)

I’ve seen the ‘Nique-Bird shootout. I’ve loved the ‘Nique-Bird shootout. I was there for the ‘Nique-Bird shootout. Pierce and LeBron, that was no ‘Nique-Bird shootout.

If everyone who owns Travis Hafner in a fantasy league starts anonymously sending him HGH, do you think he’d take the hint? Or did his car accident at the end of “No Country For Old Men” ruin his career to the point that even PEDs can’t help him? Let’s figure this out.

For the “Most Contrived Family Interactions” event at the 2008 Summer Olympics, I have the Bryants as slight favorites over the Cruises right now.

I know she’s doing a fine job, but does it make me a sexist that I can’t listen to Doris Burke analyze NBA playoff games without thinking, “Woman talking woman talking woman talking woman talking …” the entire time?

Now that it’s finally finished, I think we learned three lessons from Spygate beyond the obvious one that “it’s a bad idea to cheat because you might end up losing a No. 1 pick and getting fined $500,000”:

  1. In retrospect, maybe it’s a bad idea to put too much stock into the deranged claims of a former third-level video assistant who’s hoping to get paid for interviews even though he’s not comfortable showing what he “has.”

  2. If you had a sister who wanted to get engaged to someone who got fired from his low-ranking NFL job and moved to Hawaii to become an assistant golf pro, you would take her out to dinner, urge her not to take the plunge and make it clear you think she’s ruining her life for a complete loser. But if that same complete loser claims to have evidence that can bring down an NFL team, we should all believe him for a few months, no questions asked.

  3. If you have a national column in which you’re excoriating a sports team for cheating even though it already paid a severe penalty for what it did, and you’re hinting more revelations are coming down the road, and then it’s proven you were barking up the wrong tree … you need to admit defeat and quit blowing the situation out of proportion. No, really.

All right, I’ll ask: How come it took three seconds to euthanize Eight Belles, but the WNBA is starting Year 12?

Part of me wanted to see a split-screen commercial for the NBA playoffs with Hedo Turkoglu and Tayshaun Prince, just to see if it would have broken my HD tuner.

(That reminds me, the public should be able to vote on which shows should never be shown in high definition. And if you’re not with me, try waking up at 7 a.m. on the West Coast, flicking on the TV and getting blindsided by “The Sports Reporters” some time.)

Like everyone else, I’m three levels beyond titillated to see how Mike D’Antoni runs the “Seven Seconds or Less” offense with Eddy Curry, Zach Randolph and Nate Robinson. But here’s my question: Since Derrick Rose is the perfect point guard for that offense, why didn’t Mike D. at least wait until right after the lottery to choose between Chicago and New York? Isn’t that just common sense? Plus, they could have kept showing him in the crowd holding a Bulls hat and a Knicks hat with a “Mama needs a new pair of shoes!” smile on his face. I feel a little cheated by the whole thing.

So wait, the hottest summer movie is a superhero flick starring Robert Downey Jr. and directed by Jon Favreau, and I’m not supposed to be stockpiling canned goods right now?

Even though it happened 10 days ago, given that Utah capped off a Game 4 victory over the Lakers by blasting “Shook Me All Night Long” from the loudspeakers on a Sunday afternoon, there’s no doubt Brigham Young is still doing 360s in his grave at 155 mph. I mean, none. He might be spinning for the rest of the summer.

(Flash-forward to Danica Patrick and Jason Taylor standing on stage at the Nokia Theater in two months.) “And the 2008 ESPY for ‘Least Surprising Story’ goes to … the O.J. Mayo scandal! O.J. couldn’t be here tonight …”

Burning questions: Did you ever think “Cast Away” would end up being Tom Hanks’ most rewatchable movie? If Steve Kerr and D’Antoni can’t make it, then what hope is there for the rest of us? Had Memphis beaten Kansas, would Worldwide Wes have gotten a championship ring? Is anyone else excited the Pats drafted a wide receiver named “Slater” from UCLA? Will anyone ever come up with a more awkward high-five/hug than Cousin Sal and Roddy Piper? Does the fat kid from “Stand By Me” bagging one of the world’s most famous supermodels get more incredible over time? Can’t we just call a 10-day contract a “D.J. Mbenga?” Does anyone else get pissed Reggie Miller won’t sell Marv Albert’s jokes? Did Mike Brown ever realize that every play in the Cavs’ playbook was the play you’d run in the last 10 seconds of a quarter? Didn’t they just make an “Incredible Hulk” movie? And is there any doubt Darrell Rasner is going to win his first 12 starts? I mean, any?

The single “oldest” moment of my life so far: Standing in line at Best Buy holding DVDs for “Max and Ruby” and “Curious George” as the kid in front of me excitedly held a copy of “Grand Theft Auto IV.” Had you gunned me down right then and there, I would have been fine with it.

Speaking of video games, there are few certainties in life but this is one of them: The Wii is headed for the biggest and most expensive class-action injury suit since Navin’s eyeglasses made everyone cross-eyed in “The Jerk.”

If this were the 1700s, the Olsen twins would have been mistaken for witches and killed by now.

I keep picturing Jimmy Leyland sitting on his porch at 3 a.m. thinking about his crappy bullpen, and his wife saying, “Jimmy, come on, come to bed,” and then Jimmy saying, “Hold on, I’ll be right there” before lighting up another cigarette and trying to talk himself into Francisco Cruceta’s splitter.

Finally, we need to name the goofy tradition that happens after every game-winning homer now, when the batter gets mobbed by his teammates and they all jump and down in a happy circle for a few seconds. Right now, I’m going with the “Walkoff Mosh Pit” just to make paragraphs like the following a little more efficient:

Isn’t it weird that you can tell exactly how well a baseball team gets along by its Walkoff Mosh Pit? If there’s some half-hearted jumping and it disperses quickly, then they hate each other. If it’s a raucous mosh pit that goes on for three seconds too long, followed by 15 more seconds of hugging and helmet slapping, then they love each other. If it’s somewhere in between, then they are ambivalent. And it’s really that cut and dry.

(See? We need to name it. I’m going with “Walkoff Mosh Pit” unless someone e-mails me a better idea.)

Bill Simmons is a columnist for Page 2 and ESPN The Magazine. For every Simmons column, as well as podcasts, videos, favorite links and more, check out the revamped Sports Guy’s World.

Bill Simmons is the founding editor of Grantland and the author of the New York Times no. 1 best seller The Book of Basketball. For every Simmons column and podcast, click here.

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