By Steve Czaban Special to Published Apr 23, 2008 at 5:19 AM

I remember in the early 1990's, Jose Canseco decided there was some residual money being left on the imaginary table -- I suppose his multi-million salary with the A's just wasn't paying the rent -- and he decided to develop his own "900" number.

For you kids out there too young to recall, the ol' 900 number was a "blog" before they had "blogs." Or the internet.

For a fee about the cost of a taxi ride through mid-town at rush hour, you could call up a star's 900 line and hear their intimate inner thoughts about, well... nothing, really.

Jose would prattle on about his breakfast, what he did at the gym, and other inane crap like that.

Suffice to say, the service didn't last long.

Now, you get such nonsense for free. See Gilbert Arenas' blog here on Now, I applaud any NBA player getting his "inner Hemingway" on, so to speak. Readin', writin', and thinkin' -- it's all good.

But Gilbert's blog has been stoking the fires of the current Cavs-Wizards playoff series. And not in a good way.

Couple that, with the Washington blog that quoted Wiz guard DeShawn Stevenson talking about LeBron James: "He's overrated. And you can say I said that."

Well, the Wizards lost their first two games and James averaged a triple-double.

You think that's deterring Stevenson, who gave up the big James buckets late in Game 1? Think again.

Stevenson hit a three-pointer during Game 2 to trim the lead to -- Gasp! -- 16 points, and then made some jackass windshield wiper to the face motion afterward.

Good move.

All this from the guy who's previous claim to fame was dropping so fast on draft night when he came out of high school that he ran from the green room cameras on TNT. The same guy who spent seven years in the league with Utah and Orlando before getting one last chance with the Wiz on a minimum contract last season.

His decent year with the Wiz got him a "big" payday - at least for guys like him. Four years, $15 million total.

Or in LeBron's world, the same amount he got just for riding on a lawnmower in a commercial for 30 seconds.

LeBron over-rated? Idiotic. But it makes sense to Stevenson. Here's his logic.

"I was just trying to get up under (LeBron's) skin and make him think about me playing, competing and talking trash. I played with Raja Bell in Utah and I take a lot of things from him. He's a great defender. Sometimes you gotta do that with those guys. Those guys play guys that are scared of them all day so sometimes, you gotta get under their skin and talk some trash and tonight, I tried to do that."

OK, whatever.

What both Arenas and DeShawn don't realize is that the notion of "trash talking" does go back to the dawn of competitive sports. In the days of Bird, Magic, Jordan, etc., it was done with much more subtlety.

Bird would like to show up at the all-star three-point contest and say: "Which one of y'all is playing for second this year?"

Jordan stuck the dagger quietly in your ear as you stood waiting for an inbound pass, having just dropped his 50th point on your dumb head.

Magic did all of that and then some, always with a smile on his face.

They didn't write about in some digital diary, however, that is nothing more than diarrhea of the mouth.

Plus, last I checked, the best trash talkers always were the guys who could back it up. Hey Gilbert, hey DeShawn, DO something first!

If the Wizards go down in flames this series, having awoken an otherwise mediocre Cavs team, I seriously doubt that either guy will stand up and take blame for what they said. It's beside the point, I bet they will say. And indeed, they will be correct.

The point, as it seemingly always is in big time sports these days, is simply to get noticed and make news.

These clowns have already swept the "Blogger Series ‘08" in the NBA. What is left for them to prove?


Steve Czaban Special to

Steve is a native Washingtonian and has worked in sports talk radio for the last 11 years. He worked at WTEM in 1993 anchoring Team Tickers before he took a full time job with national radio network One-on-One Sports.

A graduate of UC Santa Barbara, Steve has worked for WFNZ in Charlotte where his afternoon show was named "Best Radio Show." Steve continues to serve as a sports personality for WLZR in Milwaukee and does fill-in hosting for Fox Sports Radio.