Stephen A. Smith: As the NBA draft approaches, there is a desire to look at these 76ers differently, to believe, yet again, that this year will be different. But the Sixers are either unclear about the direction they're going or playing mind games with the public to keep us all interested.
Stephen A. Smith: If anyone thinks that there was more to the Samuel Dalembert trade trade than simply getting rid of a mediocre center with a bloated view of himself, someone whose apathy was an emotional drain on the Sixers for years, I've got a Wall Street guy for you to trust.
Stephen A. Smith: Here we are two months into the season, fresh off another NL pennant and two straight trips to the World Series, and the Phillies are hanging around like a bunch of vagabonds, struggling to find their way.
Stephen A. Smith: He's known for smacking 500-foot home runs. As a catcher, he can throw runners out from his knees. On the mound, his fastball has been clocked at 96 m.p.h. And in a perfect world, devoid of the self-righteous and sanctimonious, that is all any of us would ever know about Bryce Harper.
Stephen A. Smith: "I really have no idea," Kobe Bryant told me when I asked him why he struggles to get a decent "hello" around these parts. Bryant forgot to say it's officially Philadelphia's problem. So it's time for others to say it for him. Any volunteers?
You can talk all you want about a debilitated Brad Lidge, about the Phillies pitching staff's being hardly anything to write home about. But when their reasons for losing don't revolve around pitching, when impotence at the plate has become their Achilles heel, the time for panic is far from now. Or June through September, for that matter.
LAS VEGAS - Forget the brawl at the Palace of Auburn Hills and other troubling incidents over the last few years. Today, none of that means anything to the National Basketball Association. Not after learning that the FBI is investigating one of its referees for betting on games he officiated - with mob-connected bookies - tarnishing the sport in ways unruly behavior could never come close to doing.
We know it's coming eventually. The 10,000th loss. The lowlight reels on television. The never-ending jokes chronicling everything the Phillies weren't, aren't, and won't be any time in the foreseeable future, as long as we are forced to look forward to someone other than Cole Hamels on the mound.
Last week, sitting inside the Phillies clubhouse after yet another painful loss, Ryan Howard verbalized political correctness better than most in the Phillies' front office, professing his faith in a pitching staff worthy of so much less. And all you could think about was, "Man, this phenom is one good liar. We're sure glad to have him."
If the Phillies were nearly as attractive as the park they play in, perhaps there would be something to cheer about. But everyone knows that is not the case, mainly because they can't pitch, can't get a trade out of their front office, and can't hoodwink anyone into thinking otherwise.
NEW YORK - If you're a 76ers fan, you might be excited today, but jubilant is an entirely different stratosphere. You're excited because the team has three first-round picks in tonight's NBA draft, but the excitement is tempered a bit because none of them is in the top 10. You're elated that the Sixers are in position to build for the future, but apprehensive because they are still devoid of a bona fide star, one capable of elevating an unaccomplished roster to sights unseen in recent memory - meaning the playoffs.