Talking Points: NBA's footnotes

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

ESPN’s Bill Simmons has ranked the biggest “footnote” titles in NBA history. Those are years in which a team won a title accompanied by a “… yeah, but …” At No. 1, he has the 1994 Rockets, as in, “yeah, but … Michael Jordan was on hiatus.”

Yet Blazer fans know that the Washington Bullets’ 1978 crown deserves the biggest footnote of any NBA championship. That was the year the Blazers were defending champions and were off to a 50-10 start before Bill Walton got hurt.

So, the Washington Bullets are forever known as the 1978 NBA champs. Yeah, but …

2

The Mariners are limping home from a long road trip with a six-game losing streak in tow. Which brings up a question Talking Points has asked before: Why is Justin Smoak still in the lineup? Smoak went 1 for 3 Thursday, which raised his average to .189. And it’s an impotent .189, with little power and no walks.

Smoak might not be the biggest problem in the lineup, but Seattle’s desperation to prove that it got something out of the Cliff Lee trade is helping to doom the offense.

3

A list of the top-earning athletes in each sport, compiled by ESPN, includes the usual suspects. There’s Kobe Bryant and his $25.2 million in salaries and prize money, not including endorsements, and there’s Alex Rodriguez and his $30 million.

But there are some surprises: Dart-throwing champion Phil Taylor earned $938,497 in 2011, bass angler Kevin VanDam earned $706,500, and competitive eater Joey Chestnut won $205,000.

Talking Points would like to lament the fact that we went into the wrong line of work. But, alas, the real shortcoming is that we weren’t born with the ability to eat 66 hot dogs in 12 minutes.

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