The Morning Column: September 1, 2021
Normally when a player leaves a team after winning a championship there's no unfinished business. That's not the case for Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. They both came back to get their parade.
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1. 🏀 Lakers want their parade
Normally when a player leaves a team after winning a championship there's no unfinished business.
There’s no need to return to right a wrong or get closure when you accomplish your goal and achieve your dreams.
That's not the case for Rajon Rondo and Dwight Howard. They both returned to the Lakers this offseason to experience the one thing they never got to in Los Angeles – a championship parade.
The goal for both players is to win a championship this season, of course, but it was impossible for them not to feel as if they were deprived of something as they watched the Milwaukee Bucks celebrate with their fans after winning the title in June.
“We didn’t get our parade,” Rondo said as he spoke to reporters after signing a one-year contract with the Lakers on Tuesday. “I want to do it again. I want obviously a parade here in L.A. and I think this is a special team that could possibly make that happen.”
Howard said the same thing when he spoke to Spectrum SportsNet after returning a few weeks earlier.
“I want another one, I want my parade,” Howard said. “There’s nothing better than having that feeling of bringing everyone together and winning… I was very hurt (there wasn’t a parade). I just had dreams of having a parade and standing in front of the crowd and saying. ‘Thank you, L.A.!’ I had dreams and visions of that so I was extremely hurt but this year I see it and I know it’s going to happen.”
Because of the truncated schedule and offseason as a result of COVID, the Lakers’ championship inside the Orlando bubble happened less than a year ago. The Lakers will actually be in the middle of their preseason schedule and one week away from Opening Night against the Golden State Warriors when they celebrate the one-year anniversary of the franchise’s 17th title.
Rondo and Howard want to win another championship this season but they also want what they missed. They want to win in front of the fans in Los Angeles and have a parade to celebrate winning two championships in three years.
“I feel like we left some rings on the table,” Howard said. “We left some opportunities on the table and I think we have the opportunity now to really bring this city together and win another championship.”
2. ⚾️ Dodgers closing in on Giants
The Los Angeles Dodgers are 84-49 and the San Francisco Giants are 84-48. That’s right, the Dodgers are now within a half-game of the National League West lead and could have the best record in baseball going into their three-game series against the Giants in San Francisco this weekend.
The Dodgers enter September after going 21-6 in August, which was the club’s fourth-best month since moving to Los Angeles. The Dodgers may have finally turned the corner at the perfect time, heading into their most important series of the season.
“I really believe our best baseball is still ahead of us," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts told reporters after the game. “The pitching has carried us in the last three weeks, but I've seen some good things in the offense collectively. We're going to put some big numbers up going forward.”
3. 👍🏽 Well done, ESPNLA 710
When ESPNLA 710 announced a new lineup two years ago that featured national syndicated programing hosted by Stephen A. Smith and Will Cain from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., I was critical of the decision. Los Angeles was becoming the epicenter of the sports world with the Lakers and Dodgers on the verge of winning championships and I thought Los Angeles sports fans, who had grown accustomed to listening to 710, deserved better than Smith and Cain talk about the Cowboys, Yankees or anything else but L.A. sports for five hours. I know many of my friends who work there agreed with me then and I’m so happy they are returning to being a live and local station from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. with Travis & Sliwa from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mason & Ireland from 1-4 p.m. and Sedano & Kap from 4-7 p.m. Even the nationally syndicated morning show has a local feel with former ESPNLA hosts Keyshawn Johnson and Max Kellerman on from 6-10 a.m. It’s a great live and local lineup for a city that deserves a great live and local lineup. (By the way, I still strongly encourage you to listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 from 12-1 p.m. every weekday. 😀)
4. 🤼♀️ Kay Lee Ray makes her NXT debut
I had the chance to sit down with Kay Lee Ray during last night’s NXT show on the USA Network. The longest reigning NXT UK Women’s Champion is now in the United States full-time and looking to become the next NXT Women’s Champion. Her journey will start next week against Ember Moon.
5. 💵 Odds and Ends Powered by Bovada
Here are some odds on Bovada if you’re thinking about placing a wager today:
6. 📆 Sept. 1, 2012: No.1 USC defeats Hawaii
Nine years ago, the USC Trojans opened up the college football season as the No. 1 team in the country for the last time. They would lose that No. 1 ranking two weeks later against Stanford and take a nose dive after starting the season 6-1. USC finished 7-6, becoming the first team since Ole Miss in 1964 to start the season as the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll and finish the season unranked. USC lost five of its last six games, including a 21-7 loss to Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.
7. 🎂 Happy Birthday Kenny Mayne
Happy birthday to Kenny Mayne. My former ESPN colleague and fellow Stevie Wonder fanatic is turning 62 years old today. Mayne, who was a backup quarterback at UNLV and began his broadcasting career in Las Vegas, left ESPN earlier in May after an incredible 27-year career there. One of my career highlights at ESPN was going on SportsCenter with Mayne live from Las Vegas after the Raiders were approved to relocate to Sin City.
8. 🎟 Ticket Time Powered by StubHub
Here are the “get in” prices for tickets if you’re thinking about going to a game today:
⚾️ Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers – $10
⚾️ New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels – $19
9. 📺 On The Air
⚾️ 4 p.m. – New York Yankees at Los Angeles Angels – Bally Sports West
⚾️ 7 p.m. – Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers – SportsNet LA
10. 📻 The Arash Markazi Show
On Tuesday’s show, we talked about SoFi Stadium opening up a field-level nightclub and why it’s important for L.A. and Vegas to have more than just football stadiums.
Listen to The Arash Markazi Show on The Mightier 1090 Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., following The Rich Eisen Show. The Mightier 1090 has the second strongest radio signal in North America and can be heard from “Baja to the Canadian Rockies.” You can also listen to the show on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play and Stitcher.
And please click below to subscribe to The Morning Column at Substack. Please also consider supporting my colleagues at Substack (and former colleagues at ESPN and SI): Marc Stein, Henry Abbott, Chad Ford and Ethan Strauss on the NBA, Molly Knight on MLB, Ariel Helwani on MMA, Dan Rafael on boxing, Grant Wahl and Leander Schaerlaeckens on soccer, Chris Peters on the NHL and Peter Bodo on tennis.
That’s it for today. Talk to you tomorrow!