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Kobe Bryant stands by opinion on Dream Team: ‘They got beaten by a college team’

You think Kobe Bryant has backed off his widely discussed and controversial belief that the current U.S. Olympic hoops team would beat the 1992 Dream Team? Think again. After all, this is Kobe Bryant we’re talking about.

The debate that seemingly doesn’t want to go away was revived again on Saturday in Spain when Kobe was asked if he’s reconsidered his stance.

Nope.

“People who think we can’t beat that team for one game, they’re crazy,” Bryant told reporters. “To sit there and say we can’t, it’s ludicrous.”

He was then asked if he plans to bring this up with Michael Jordan, who led the Dream Team, the next time the two legendary players (and trash talkers) come face to face.

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Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol will be a Laker as long as I am

Things in Lakerland appear to be brightening up. Keystone Light connoisseur Steve Nash is now handling the point. It’s apparently still not out of the question for Dwight Howard to join the team. And now Kobe Bryant is lending his support behind the beleaguered Pau Gasol.

After a markedly disappointing regular season and playoffs, Gasol became the scapegoat by many for the Lakers’ struggles. And it was Kobe who targeted Gasol with criticism more than once in the postseason. And with trade chatter continuing to surround the Spaniard, the belief was that Kobe was playing at least some part in its existence.

But, speaking to reporters in Spain on Team USA’s pre-Olympic exhibition tour, Kobe tried to put to rest the rumors that he and Gasol have some sort of rocky relationship:

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Davey Johnson harsh on himself, Stephen Strasburg after ugly Nats loss

After getting out to a 9-0 lead on Friday, the Nationals found themselves on the losing end of an 11-10 loss after a stunning comeback by the Braves. It was a game Nats manager Davey Johnson called “probably the worst I’ve ever managed in my career.” Johnson was just as unforgiving with Stephen Strasburg, who went five scoreless innings before allowing four runs in the sixth, when Johnson gave him the hook.

“He felt like he was missing, but I felt like he just wasn’t going after them,” Johnson told the Washington Post. “He wasted a lot of pitches. He really doesn’t know who he is at times. He doesn’t trust his stuff. It was a little avoiding contact, trying to make too good of pitches. I know they’re a pretty good-hitting ballclub, but he’s got pretty good stuff.

“Another thing, too, when you throw a lot of pitches to hitters they get a better gauge on you. It’s easier to hit. You see 2-3 fastballs missed, it’s easier to start gauging somebody. It’s a lot tougher when you go right after them and they’ve got to put it in play.”

Jeez. It’s as if Johnson forgot Strasburg was actually still in line to win the game when he was pulled, and that it was shoddy bullpen work that ultimately let that win slip away. Kind of unfair for Johnson to get all grouchy about Strasburg when we know the Nats ace wasn’t going to get a chance to right the ship anyway.

On the other hand, Strasburg has struggled of late, earning losses in three of his last five starts. So, this could have been an instance of underlying frustrations finally rising to the surface. Natitude!

Photo: Brad Mills-US PRESSWIRE

Shaq Thompson returns to football after disastrous pro baseball debut

Look, we all can’t be Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders.

That’s probably what Washington signee Shaq Thompson is thinking as he returns to Seattle to prepare for his upcoming freshman season following a brutal 13-game stinkfest with the Red Sox’s Rookie class affiliate.

Thompson, a top-five football recruit in the nation this year, finished his summer of baseball on Florida’s Gulf Coast League Red Sox with a downright shameful 0-for-39 at the plate with 37 strikeouts (eight walks, though!). Thompson, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound outfielder, was drafted in the 18th round of June’s MLB draft by the Red Sox. Not bad considering he gave up the sport for six years until his senior year to focus on football. He’ll play safety this fall for the Huskies.

Thompson in part changed his commitment from Cal to UW because Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian was fine with letting him pursue a baseball career while playing football for the program. But, being the top safety recruit in this past recruiting cycle, it’s probably safe to say football is Thompson’s brighter future.

No matter, he already pocketed $45,000 from the Sox for playing this year and that could turn into $100,000 over the next four years if he keeps with baseball. Hey, for that much I’ll go embarrass myself in a batters box for a month each year. Totally worth it. But that kind of cash probably doesn’t even compare to the bankroll he’s getting from U-Dub. I kid!

Screenshot via YouTube user williamboykins

Mike Trout’s girlfriend is Jessica Cox, his high school sweetheart

Mike Trout is practically on top of the world right now. He’s young, the best player on a playoff contender and an MVP candidate — as a rookie. So who’s the lucky lady who gets to be Trout’s romantic companion during these exciting times? A supermodel? Pop star? Miss July? Kim Kardashian? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Definitely wrong.

No, the Angels phenom is keeping things simple (as most baseball players not named Evan Longoria, Matt Kemp and Alex Rodriguez do) and dating his high school sweetheart Jessica Cox. “I met her in high school, and we trust each other, and she is one of my best friends,” Trout told the Philadelphia Daily News, per to PlayerWives.com. “She is somebody I can talk to and is always here for me.”

A gloss over of her Twitter page reveals Trouty recently sent her a bouquet of roses with the message, “I love you and miss you.” Ah, to be young and in love. Additionally, she is currently vacationing in Bermuda and likes to Instagram photos of bowls of fruit. The life of an MLB WAG!

Here are more photos of these two lovebirds together:

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Kenny Britt arrested yet again; this time for DUI at an Army post

Unfortunate yet unsurprising news for the Titans today, as troubled wide receiver Kenny Britt found himself in handcuffs yet again after being charged with DUI at a military installation early Friday morning.

Britt reportedly was taking a female soldier back to Fort Campbell, an Army post on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, when his vehicle was stopped at a gate outside of the premises. Guards became suspicious of Britt’s driving and conducted a field sobriety test, which confirmed their suspicions. He reportedly declined to take a Breathalyzer test.

Britt was held in custody, though for an unclear amount of time. He was released later in the day after being escorted out of the installation by MPs. His vehicle remains impounded on the post.

By now, Britt is probably used to being in handcuffs (in more ways than you’d think). This is his whopping eighth known brush with law enforcement since being drafted by the Titans in 2009.

When we last heard from Britt he was busy leading cops on a police chase last year then getting arrested for something totally different the day after appearing in court for said police chase.

Britt somehow managed to escape suspension by the league last season, despite being a multiple offender. Hard to see him not feeling the wrath of his buddy Roger Goodell this time.

50 Cent starts boxing promotion company

50 Cent has now joined the likes of Don King, Bob Arum and Oscar De La Hoya by founding his own promotional company for boxing.

The rapper, who’s been involved in a variety of business dealings outside of music, is calling his company TMT Promotions. (TMT so humbly stands for “The Money Team.”) It’s already acquired a license in New York and is working on doing the same in Nevada. More from SI:

In addition to working with longtime friend and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, industry sources say TMT Promotions is expected to sign former featherweight title holder Yuri Gamboa and super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell.

This is a venture Mayweather, an entourage member of Mr. Cent’s (and vice versa), foreshadowed back in April. Only then, he mentioned 50 could also be getting into the ring. It remains to be seen if that will actually happen or if it was something that got missed during one of their stack-of-money business calls.

Photo: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE