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Star Wars Museum could ‘force’ LeBron James to Chicago

LeBrJames Miami Hetakes out his mouthpiece before start play following timeout against San Antonio Spurs during game 5 NBA finals

LeBron James of the Miami Heat takes out his mouthpiece before the start of play following a timeout against the San Antonio Spurs during game 5 of the NBA finals on June 16, 2013 in San Antonio, Texas., where the Spurs defeated the Heat 114-104 and now lead the series 3-2. AFP PHOTO/Frederic J. BROWN (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

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Updated: July 30, 2014 6:48AM



The man doesn’t tweet, but if he did . . .

Chicago lands the George Lucas Star Wars Museum the same day LeBron James opts out of his Miami Heat contract. Coincidence? I think not.

There is a widespread subculture of Star Wars geeks among NBA players, so the museum’s coming here could be a difference-maker in the Bulls’ efforts to attract free agents. Little-known fact: The tattoos adorning LeBron’s right arm are a synopsis of the plot lines of the Star Wars trilogy. His left-arm tats offer a bullet-point breakdown of why the original “Star Wars” is a better movie than ‘‘Space Jam.’’

The King will go where The Force leads him.

◆ Hawk Harrelson was get-off-my-lawn cranky after two late homers cost the White Sox two games in Baltimore last week. Hawk, all the T-dubya, T-dubya in the world can’t overcome a bad bullpen.

◆ Adrian Beltre doesn’t come immediately to mind as a future Hall of Famer, but maybe he should. Beltre collected his 2,500th hit last week; at 35, he has a shot at 3,000, which is a Cooperstown Hall pass. His slash line — .283/.335/.478, for an .813 OPS — compares favorably with HOF third basemen Ron Santo’s (.277/.362/.464 — .826) and George Brett’s (.305/.369/.487 — .857). He has Chipper Jones-like power numbers and four Gold Gloves for fielding proficiency.

Personality quirks aside, Beltre is a terrific player. Maybe he hasn’t stayed in one place long enough — four teams in 16 years — to establish that.

◆ Chicago’s bid to be host city for the 35th America’s Cup regatta could be a difference-maker in the Bulls’ efforts to attract free agents. It’s not unusual to walk into an NBA locker room during the international sailing competition and find players poring over brackets and organizing pools. Did you know Carmelo Anthony was known as ‘‘Carmelodore’’ around the Inner Harbor Yacht Club while growing up in Baltimore?

◆ Cubs fans never warmed to Matt Garza, who did little to dispel the notion that he was both fragile and a goof, so there wasn’t much outrage when he was swapped to Texas last year for Justin Grimm and prospects. Jeff Samardzija, by contrast, is beloved here, but the Cubs will be fortunate to get as much for him. Garza, like Samardzija, was 29 when he was dealt, and a more accomplished big-league pitcher with 63 wins, 1,098 innings and five postseason starts. Samardzija has 31 big-league wins and one postseason inning.

◆ I gave objectivity the afternoon off and pulled for the Giants’ Tim Lincecum to finish his no-hitter against the Padres the other day. Lincecum, Greg Maddux, Billy Pierce . . . I’ve always liked pitchers who defy stereotypes, ignore supposed physical limitations and augment their talent by being smart, tough and fearless.

◆ As of Friday, the Cubs had gone 14-10 since bottoming out at 20-34 on June 1. That .583 winning percentage would lead four divisions and be a wild-card qualifier in both leagues.

◆ One truly amazing Tony Gwynn stat: He had more four-hit games (45) than two-strikeout games (33). Gwynn struck out 434 times in his 19-season career. Adam Dunn struck out 588 times in his first three White Sox seasons.

◆ I admire anybody who’s good enough at something to do it for 16 years, including a long snapper. But I think Jay Hilgenberg’s 163 career games as the Bears’ center or Dan Hampton’s 157 on the defensive line were a bit more taxing than Patrick Mannelly’s franchise-record 245 games long snapping, over which everybody fussed.

When John Robinson coached the Rams, his long snapper was an Orange County firefighter who practiced one day a week and came in to snap on Sundays. Different era, sure. But the same game.

◆ Chicago’s bid to be host city for the 2015 NFL draft could be a difference-maker in the Bulls’ efforts to attract free agents. That was Kevin Love in the Chuck Foreman jersey with the rolled-up mock draft vociferously booing the Vikings’ selection of linebacker Anthony Barr in New York last month.

The NFL draft is a huge deal among NBA players. Metta World Peace, I hear, is thinking of another name change. To Mel Kiper III.

◆ Andrew McCutchen treated a group of kids from Leo High School and the Lost Boyz Baseball Foundation to a shopping trip at NikeTown during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ recent trip to Chicago. As impressive as McCutchen’s generosity was his message reminding the kids that schoolwork and citizenship are every bit as important as sports.

A good man, that one.



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