Who Needs Good P.R.?

White American hoopsters, the Catholic Church and Randall Gnant, but not Mike Tyson.

This item was reported the other day: Heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson fired his P.R. agency.

MIKE TYSON HAD A P.R. AGENCY?!! How much money did they take him for? Was it an affiliate of Enron? Were they the ones who came up with the gems about his eating Lennox Lewis' children? And will we notice a difference now that they've been given the ax?

While we're at it, there are a few more questions I need answers to, including:

Why are white European basketball players better than white American basketball players? I really need to know this one. You look at the Dallas-Sacramento playoff series and the best players on the floor are the Mavs' Dirk Nowitzki, who is from Germany, and the Kings' Peja Stojakovic, who doesn't even know what his home country is being called this week. These guys are amazing. They're seven feet tall, but they stand outside the three-point line and fire away. They can dribble and pass and even throw down spectacular dunks. I would call them freaks but they're not the only ones.

Indeed, the league is sprinkled with players with names like Torkoglu, Kirilenko and Potopenko. These are guys from countries where they have 47 words for "surrender," but not one for "bath." Places where the national economy is based on goats and the entire country smells like bootie. Heck, the NBA Rookie of the Year this season was from Spain!

Can you imagine the shame of an American kid who lived and breathed basketball his entire life, went to college on a basketball scholarship and then was the last guy to get cut from an NBA team because the franchise wanted to keep somebody from Spain? It would be too much to handle. I've seen several Spanish basketball games on TV. They all look like Guernica.

I think it's great that the NBA is becoming an international league. Just 10 years ago, everybody thought it was insane when FIBA, the body that governs international basketball, pretty much insisted that the U.S. send its best pro players to the Olympics, guaranteeing some horribly lopsided games. The U.S. waltzed to the Gold in 1992 and 1996 but by 2000, the gap had narrowed.

It's just odd that you could put together a legitimate NBA All-Star team consisting of white Europeans, but if you tried to do it with Caucasian Americans, you'd end up with however many of the Barry brothers are still in the league, 40-year-old John Stockton and Keith Van Horn, who could get hurt reading his own injury report.

Perhaps most disheartening of all is that one of the two best point guards in the National Basketball League is from Canada. Try to picture what it must be like to play basketball in Canada. If you throw somebody a good pass, the guy who catches it will have to distribute 83 percent of his points to others so that no one's feelings will be hurt.

After we "kill all the lawyers," can we do psychiatrists next? I hate the people who used the power and inherent trust of the Catholic Church to commit unspeakable crimes. I hate the people who were supposed to be supervising those depraved bastards, but chose to look the other way. But I also hate the people who are coming out of the woodwork hoping to cash in after "suddenly remembering" how they were "abused" as children.

I'd love to see a study of how many of these incidents of "suppressed memories" proved to be factual and how many were merely manifestations of the power of suggestion.

I've lived a life full of ups and downs and I have lots of memories. Now, I don't pretend that I'd be able to remember everything that happened on my 14th birthday or how I felt a week before my kids were born. But I don't think I'd need hypnosis to remember whether a priest had something in his hand other than a chalice.

Will the Arizona Interscholastic Association ever get things right? No matter how hard they try (and I believe they do), the folks at the AIA have an incredible propensity for looking and acting Keystone Kop-ish.

Last week all four teams in the Class 5A state baseball and softball championships were from Tucson. So naturally, they held the championship games in Phoenix. But there was a reason for it. The AIA had sold the TV rights to some crappy Cox cable station in Phoenix and the TV people refused to allow the games to be played in Tucson, and neither would they allow a Tucson station to pick up the feed.

Even worse is that for several years those games, as well as the championships in football and boys and girls basketball, were shown on Fox Sports Arizona, which can be seen all over the state. The crappy Cox cable paid more for the rights than had Fox Sports, but it can't even be seen in all parts of Phoenix.

AIA people, you're supposed to be serving the prep athletes, their families and fans across the entire state. Next time, don't make it just about the money.

Exactly how lame a duck is Randall Gnant? The state Senate president recently dropped out of the governor's race, not that anybody knew that he had even been in it. He commissioned a poll and found out that he was running ninth out of seven candidates. So he quit. But so unimportant is he that if the announcement of his quitting the race had been any farther back in the paper, it would have dislodged an ad for a used refrigerator.

Now it looks like he's going to lose out on his bid to use legislative sleight-of-hand in an effort to screw Arizona's Indian gaming concerns. His star is definitely falling.

Hey, maybe he could hire Mike Tyson's old P.R. firm. They're looking for work.

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