- The Washington Times - Friday, February 9, 2001

The NBA is taking a well-deserved powder in Tony Cheng's neighborhood this weekend.
That goes double for Jeff Van Ankle Weight, the bleeder in a rumpled suit.
The pause in the schedule begs an examination. The season is not lost, just waist-deep in dysfunction.
David Stern has not been the same since he refused Dennis Rodman's challenge to fight in the nude last season.
Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf has resurfaced in Vancouver, the NBA equivalent of the Witness Protection Program. No word on Bison Dele or his desalinization plant.
The lights are out in California, and the Lakers are there to confirm it.
Isaiah Rider has become the voice of reason in Zen City, so long as there are no reporters around to threaten.
Unlike Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal are stuck with one another, no Geronimo, pet rocks or incense about it.
"Our two stars need to cut out that stuff," Rider said last month. "They're too good to cry about the things they're crying about."
Crying is the No. 1 pastime in the NBA, just ahead of watching the afternoon soaps. If the NBA is looking to put music to its operations, Boy George's hit song from "The Crying Game" is a good place to start.
As uneasy as the Bryant-O'Neal union is, Jason and Joumana Kidd can't say theirs is any better. Hell hath no fury like a woman who takes a French fry and then a blow to the mouth.
Chris Webber is questioning his long-term commitment to Sacramento, despite the team's 31-15 record. Washington feels his pain on a number of levels.
Webber is the Renaissance man who was run out of town by the woman from Connecticut and the parties who repeatedly planted marijuana in his luggage and vehicle.
Rod Strickland, to his credit, is trying to keep the tradition alive. He has the hiccups and can't get off the bench.
Michael Jordan's distance from the Wizards is said to be a problem. The Timberwolves say otherwise. They do not have a working owner and vice president of basketball operations. They have won 11 games in a row anyway.
The Nuggets staged a celebrated boycott against basketball in December before reaching the conclusion that practice makes perfect.
Their less-is-more approach possibly was inspired by Sam Cassell, Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen in Milwaukee.
Mark Cuban leads the NBA in fines, Rasheed Wallace in technical fouls. They agree on the source of their discontent, the referees.
You apparently can't print in a family newspaper what Jimmy Buffett might say to that. The singer was banished to the back of the Meltdown Center in Miami last Sunday after a referee objected to his profanity-laced commentary on the game.
The referee, Joe Forte, is multi-dimensional, to say the least, policing the action on the court and the language off it.
Olden Polynice is cut from a different police cloth, guilty on two counts of misinterpreting his honorary badge from the Los Angeles Police Department. His lack of expertise in law merited a fine, community service and a reminder that the O in Olden does not stand for Officer Polynice.
Allen Iverson is the hip-hop artist formerly known as an MVP candidate. He is a latter-day Lenny Bruce in short pants, looking to shock audiences as he enlightens them. His recent slur to a group of homosexuals sitting behind the 76ers bench in Indiana provoked at least two questions. One: How did he identify the fans as homosexuals? Two: Is that a John McCain or Luke Sissyfag thing?
Rick Pitino is being pat on the back by UCLA and UNLV after quitting on his players in Boston. The line of shameless glad-handers at Pitino's door is expected to grow as college basketball heads into the spring cleaning season.
In a related development, Gary Payton is out with an injury, which means Paul Westphal can come out of hiding.
Charles Barkley is having fun with his diet in the Turner studio. Shawn Kemp is just weary from his diet. Or so he claimed after missing a practice.
Meanwhile, the festivities are under way. Welcome, Master P. Who let the Lil' Bow Wow out? This town is big enough for C-Murder and C-SPAN.
There also is a game, if the game matters, struggling to climb out of the cauldron of activities.
Hang loose. Hang tight. Let it all hang out. And keep it real.

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