SPORTS BEAT: LET HIM BE

Once again, apologies to HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher for borrowing his signature line. New rules: Everyone has to stop obsessively focusing on Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin at least until the NBA playoffs get underway.

Sports Illustrated put Lin on the cover for two straight weeks and he even made the cover of People as well. Of course Lin received the ultimate accolade any entertainer can ever dream of when he made the cover of Good Times two weeks ago.

Even the White House hasn’t been immune from Lin-sanity. While campaigning in Miami, President Obama expressed his frustration at having to miss the Knicks-Heat game that night in order to attend a fundraiser held ironically at veteran NBA star Vince Carter’s home. I am surprised that the Republican candidates have so far been mum on Lin’s abilities to lead the Knicks to an NBA championship.

At this point however there is probably nothing new that we can learn about him. Those massive Q&A press conferences arranged by the Knicks public relations department after every game feel redundant, as Jeremy, who has handled his month in the public fish bowl extremely well, has to give the same answers to predictable queries over and over.

It’s going to be teamwork that will determine the Knicks’ success in getting to the playoffs and not a feel good story that has now become overhyped.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu once famously said about his dealings with trying to reach a peace treaty with the Palestinian Authority, “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” The same can be said of the New Jersey Nets. During the 48 days that Time Warner Cable and Cablevision were having their squabble that blacked out Knicks games in New York City, the Nets were the only local pro team TWC customers could watch since their games are telecast on YES.

If the Nets played well, there was a good chance that they could have picked up a number of new fans especially in light of their upcoming move to Brooklyn this Fall. Instead the Nets went on another one of their typical losing streaks that unfortunately began with the start of Lin-sanity on February 4.

It seems as if the only way that the Nets will get even a drop of attention around here is if they acquire Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard. Of course that may be the only way they can retain the one world class player they do have, All-Star point guard Deron Williams who is a free agent at the end of this season. The conventional wisdom is that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban will get Williams to return to his hometown before next season.

Speaking of Mark Cuban, he was in town last month when the Mavericks lost to the Knicks at the Garden 104-97. Now that the Time Warner Cable and Cablevision have resolved their tiff, Cuban is vowing to get Time Warner Cable to carry his HDNet, (to be rebranded AXS this Summer when he merges it into a joint venture with Ryan Seacrest, the powerhouse talent agency CAA and venue owner/tour promoter AEG) and the very first independent high definition tv network. TWC offered it to subscribers in the early days of high def but quickly dropped it in a fee dispute. HDNet helped popularize mixed martial arts (which will be more heavily aired on AXS) and it is currently the tv home of legendary news anchor Dan Rather.

It’s amazing how many baseball writers are livid that Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was able to get his 50-game suspension overturned by an arbiter. The fact is that Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association did not handle his urine sample in the manner that was contractually agreed upon.

Braun has steadfastly and emphatically maintained his innocence. While most scribes are saying that he got off the hook on a technicality, I believe him. Who is to say that someone did not spike a beverage he may have drunk with a substance banned by MLB? This is a serious flaw in drug testing.

While most local baseball fans take JetBlue to either Tampa or West Palm Beach to catch Yankees and Mets spring training, my suggestion is to take the Forest Hills-based airline to Phoenix to see the Cactus League where most of the NL and AL central and western division teams train. The Phoenix-Chandler Homewood Suites is centrally located to nearly all of the ballparks and the hotel offers reasonable rates and throws in a complimentary hot breakfast to boot.

Speaking of Arizona, no MLB team trains in Tucson these days but the town is always worth a visit as it’s the home of two of America’s best spas/health resorts, the Canyon Ranch Spa and Miraval. Both places offer massages, top-notch exercise facilities, facials and pedicures (guys love this stuff too!), and healthy dining that proves that eating well does not have to be a punishment.

The upcoming Sean William Scott-Jay Baruchel hockey flick, GOON, filmed entirely in dreary snow-filled Manitoba, is a fascinating and humorous look at hockey minor league enforcers whose only job is to fight. Liev Schreiber, the voice behind all of HBO Sports’ terrific documentaries, steals the film as a veteran goon who bears more than an uncanny resemblance to the late Bob Probert.

Ironically legendary Flyers enforcer Dave ‘The Hammer’ Schultz told  Philadelphia Magazine that he probably would not have done any of the things that he did on the ice if he knew the risks that concussions would have on players.

The Islanders are the anesthesiologists of the ice in that they can put anyone to sleep with their play. Despite a pair of goals from Josh Bailey, they lost to the Flyers 6-3 last week in Philly. The Flyer faithful, normally some of the most raucous fans in sports, barely cheered when their own guys scored.

I wonder if anyone in the Islanders organization understood how not having a real radio home in the New York area hurt them during the Time Warner Cable-Cablevision dispute when Queens fans couldn’t watch them. Nah!

Arthur Richman will receive a long overdue honor when he is posthumously inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in Commack on April 29th. Richman worked for more than a half a century in baseball public relations including lengthy stints with both the Mets and the Yankees. Arthur knew anyone who was anyone in both baseball and nearly every other endeavor. He is terribly missed. Hopefully his induction into Commack will lead to another one in Cooperstown.

Did anyone notice how Queens DA Richard Brown cut a plea bargain with former Mets equipment manager/travel secretary Charlie Samuels a few weeks before the Wilpon-Madoff-Picard trial was scheduled to get underway? Samuels was initially charged with selling off Mets property and illegally writing checks from Mets accounts to cover gambling debts. He wound up pleading guilty to merely possessing baseball memorabilia that didn’t belong to him and will not serve any prison time. Clearly the Mets wanted this embarrassing matter quietly resolved before the Madoff spotlight shines on them again. Brown happily obliged and Samuels was smart enough to take the deal.

Even staunch Mets fans should read “The Rotation,” (Running Press) penned by the always insightful Philadelphia baseball writers Jim Salisbury and Todd Zolecki about the 2011 sterling Phillies starting pitching staff that lived up to billing during the regular season but were outdueled by the Cardinals in the playoffs.

I wonder if the Mets will sell those Underdog-logo t-shirts that David Wright understandably despises at Citi Field this year. I can just hear the late Wally Cox’s voice saying, “There’s no need to fear. Ruben Tejada’s here!”

Sailing fans should take note that the America’s Cup will take place the last week in June in beautiful Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is also home to the Tennis Hall of Fame. Rhode Island, despite its small size has some of the most beautiful beaches on the Eastern Seaboard. Newport and scenic Providence are only about an hour’s drive from both the Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods casino resorts.

Paula Abdul was in town last week to promote the GNC line of women’s health supplements, Fembody. When I asked her if there was any chance that the Clippers might supplant the Lakers as the LA’s top basketball team, Abdul smiled and said, “I’m still a Laker girl (she started her career as a Laker dancer) but it’s great to see that the Staples Center is packed every night now that the Clippers have both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul.”

ESPN’s documentary on the twentieth anniversary of Magic Johnson’s startling announcement that he had the HIV virus, “The Announcement,” is certainly worth watching but it seems as if both Magic and the filmmakers went out of their way to try to hide the fact that gay men are the biggest victims of this insidious disease.

We see Magic talking to that late Elizabeth Glaser who died from the disease when she had the misfortune of a bad blood transfusion, as well as him talking to women who are HIV-positive, but nowhere in the film do we see him chatting with homosexual men who either have AIDS or who have the virus. It appeared as if Johnson, who was very involved with this project, went out of his way to squelch any speculation that he may have gotten the virus from sexual contact with a man by avoiding showing any gays on camera.

I am not sure if they will help your golf game but if you want to look like and feel like a million bucks on the golf course, pick up a pair of Walter Genuin soft Italian golf shoes at the New York Golf Center on West 35th Street in Manhattan.