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First Down

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Take Your Pick " Greg Oden or Kevin Durant?

On Oden: Dominant centers are rare in the NBA, and Oden is the first can't-miss, high-profile big man since Yao Ming in 2002. Scouts compare him to Bill Russell (11 championships), David Robinson (two championships) and Hakeem Olajuwon (two championships). Sense a theme?

On Durant: His mobility and quickness make Durant's game look effortless, and his decision-making will help him transition to the NBA right away. Scouts see a unique blend of Kevin Garnett and Tracy McGrady. Plus, the last high-profile swingman Portland passed on (Michael Jordan) for a big man (Sam Bowie) haunted it for years.

Who will go No. 1? Oden: Most fans predict Oden to go No. 1. Oden thinks he will, too. He visited with Seattle but did not bother working out. Durant's strength (he reportedly couldn't bench 185 pounds) will improve, and he will become a star, but big men win championships: Seven of the last eight championships have been won by either Tim Duncan or Shaquille O'Neal.

Give us your opinions on this matchup

at mmedina@washingtontimes.com and we'll publish them next week.

Tonight's Best Bet on TV

"Shaq's Big Challenge": O'Neal is in charge of helping six Florida kids become healthy and fit. Chs. 7, 2, 9 p.m.

He Said What?

"It's weird because you get in the game and you almost forget it's a final because it's just Mexico again." — Landon Donovan after the United States beat Mexico 2-1 on Sunday in the Gold Cup

TWT 5 " Shaq's Best Off-Court Moments

1. Cell Phone Rap: In the Lakers' 2002 championship DVD, Shaq raps to a cell phone tune, saying nobody knows Vlade Divac's name.

2. Kobe Who?: Shaq pretended not to know who Kobe Bryant was when asked about him during the summer of 2005.

3. "Sacramento Queens": During the Lakers' 2002 championship parade, Shaq declared Sacramento would never be the capital of California.

4. "Blue Chips": It's Shaq's only legitimate movie, although it is an easy role: Neon Bodeaux, a basketball giant who knows how to dunk.

5. Shaq Fu: Da Return: His four rap albums don't warrant a greatest hits compilation (although Shaq disagrees). But listening to him rap on "No Hook" with Method Man and Redman is comical. He does have a touching song about his father in "Biological Didn't Bother."