Yes, there are things going on this NBA offseason besides prolonged negotiations and debate about whether Kobe Bryant will actually play overseas.
There's of course Ron Artest's random antics that pop into the headlines every other day. When Andrew Bynum's not taking up boxing lessons, he's getting well-earned scrutiny for getting caught parking in handicapped spaces. Pau Gasol, meanwhile, has kept busy training with the Spanish national team preparing for the European Championships this month.
Based on the number of emails and comments, however, most of the buzz lately has centered around Magic Johnson's recent hourlong conversation with Times columnist Bill Plaschke at Loyola Marymount University. Johnson relived his storied Lakers career that spanned five NBA championships, three league and Finals MVPs, 12 All-Star appearances and a million-dollar smile. He looked ahead to possible ownership opportunities with an NFL team in Los Angeles, or even the Dodgers. Looking back, he admitted that he wouldn't have retired so quickly after being diagnosed with HIV.
There's one comment Johnson made that elicited plenty of debate: His boasts about the 1992 Dream Team and their superiority to the 2008 Redeem Team.
"When you think about the Olympics and the Dream Team, I have to throw it to you," Johnson said. "Kobe [Bryant] and them won by 22 points. Ehh, 22 points? We won by an average of 44 points. So when they want to step up to that, you tell them we'll be waiting on them."
In putting together this week's mailbag, it's obvious Johnson's argument struck a chord. (For future mailbags, email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org)