SCOTT SIMON, HOST: And I come to work each week merely say it is time for sports activities. (SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) SIMON: The Boston Celtics play LeBron’s LA Lakers tonight. But who cares? Neither group’s had a stellar 12 months, and the U.S. Women’s football group has filed a lawsuit against U.S. Soccer just beforehand of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. ESPN’s Howard Bryant joins us. Howard, thank you a lot for being with us. HOWARD BRYANT, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. How are you? SIMON: I am great thank you. BRYANT: And, via the manner, of course, you care. It’s nevertheless Celtics-Lakers. It doesn’t make a distinction what yr it’s miles.
SIMON: I agree. BRYANT: It’s Celtics-Lakers. SIMON: And you know I care approximately LeBron. I’d care about LeBron if he was playing for a excessive school team, specially if he become playing… BRYANT: He surely is gambling for a high faculty team this 12 months. SIMON: Oh, oh wow, wow, wow, wow. BRYANT: That’s Boston color for you. SIMON: Well, tell us – 538 offers the Lakers a much less than 1 percentage threat of creating the playoffs. If LeBron had stayed with Cleveland, he could have been – they might have made it to the playoffs. And I’m beginning to surprise, Howard, is every body going to want to peer “Space Jam 2?” BRYANT: Well, it is been an exciting yr for the Lakers and particularly while LeBron James comes and joins the – one of the iconic, one of the two iconic franchises in the NBA that this was purported to be a magical year, and it is been a big disappointment. The Lakers are 30 and 35. They’re out of the playoff race right now. Let’s now not overlook what LeBron James has finished. He’s no longer best made the playoffs each yr for the final eight years, he’s made the finals each yr for the ultimate eight years. There’s only an additional man celebrity stage who has accomplished that, and it’s Bill Russell returned in the 1960s after they won eight immediately championships. And so looking at what the Lakers have achieved – it is absolutely charming, too, because LeBron has clearly been a part of the hassle. His defense has been terrible. He’s truely been certainly unprofessional in a pair of various examples… SIMON: Kicking the ball. BRYANT: …Rolling the ball down court and having it knocked out of – he is simply now not centered. And it’s been in reality peculiar to look. It’s no longer impossible that they might go on a touch streak and make the playoffs maybe as an eighth seed. But, you realize, they had play the Warriors within the first spherical and quite a great deal get hammered, so this has been a misplaced season for the Lakers. SIMON: And what approximately the Celtics? They simply haven’t gelled. BRYANT: Well – and the Celtics had been presupposed to be the crew that changed into going to – they were going to play the – they had been going to play the Warriors inside the finals. And they are 10 games in the back of Milwaukee. They’ve been inconsistent all season lengthy. And I without a doubt do think that one of the massive problems that they’ve had, and the Lakers have had the precise equal hassle, is that they had this public love fest seeking to gather Anthony Davis. And I suppose inside the Celtics’ case, they have long past out of their manner to form of alienate their own crew. I suggest, what – how do you genuinely get a crew to rise up and play for you while you’ve pretty lots signaled to the arena that you’re willing to exchange anyone at the roster for a man you don’t actually have? And so it’s been a really tough gelling system for them. Kyrie Irving can leave on the give up of the season. People are saying whether or not he’s going to sign up for the Knicks or go signal with any other group. So they have got all forms of distractions. And it clearly has no longer come together. I assume any other thing that came about with them is that while you are told which you are a wonderful crew before you play your first sport of the season, it is form of hard to modify to the truth that maybe you’re not that exact and also you in reality need to grind every single day. And we’ll see what they do. However, they did beat the Warriors in Oakland closing week with the aid of 33 factors, so it does show you what they’re able to. SIMON: Twenty-8 participants of the U.S. Ladies’s soccer team are suing the federation for gender discrimination, traumatic identical pay. They experience that nearly not anything was completed of their previous complaint again in 2017. They’re choosing an particularly propitious time to make the case, too, are not they? BRYANT: Well, as they need to. This is what we name leverage. You’ve got the World Cup coming. They’re a three-time World Cup champion. This is ongoing, and this is one of the issues that we’ve seen over the past numerous years in phrases of same pay. They need equal pay compared to the guys. They need – they’re the higher group of the two. SIMON: Yeah, and they’re the group pleasers, too. BRYANT: They’re the gang pleasers and yet they get fewer – they get demonstrably fewer bonuses. They get demonstrably worse playing conditions. They feel like 2nd-class residents. And let’s no longer forget we have been within the same situation two years in the past whilst the girls’s hockey team needed to boycott or threaten to boycott now not playing within the international championships to strike a address USA Hockey. So when that is going on right now – you know, Scott, I watched “Captain Marvel” remaining night. And it turned into simply so first-rate to see that – and it is a notable film. Marvel makes higher films than DC. But the actual trouble is all of that is a pander in case you’re going to speak approximately women being prematurely and being out the front if you’re not going to pay them. It’s were given to be same pay.