Current hottest athletes on the planet list:

1. Novak Djokavic, Serbia.

2. Lionel Messi, Argentina.

3. Dirk Nowitzki, Germany.

Most likely Americans to crack the list: LeBron James, Roy Halladay.

This isn't a "What we're doing wrong" rant in terms of youth develop-

ment - we'll save that for another day since we're doing plenty wrong in this country - but just an acknowledgment that the rest of the planet must be doing a lot right.

What if . . .

. . . the Phillies had held on to Kyle Lohse? This isn't a second-guess. How can you second-guess anything that brought the Phillies their current rotation with two pennants and a World Series title? But what if Lohse (current ERA 2.06) hadn't moved on after the 2007 season? How would the dominoes have fallen? So many things had to happen in a precise order for Halladay, Lee, and Oswalt to all end up here, the guess is that if Lohse had stayed here and stayed healthy, the rotation would look completely different.

Best pound- for-pound talker?

According to my tape recorder, Bernard Hopkins talked to me Tuesday afternoon for 11 minutes, 47 seconds. (I asked five, maybe six questions.) The only problem afterward was deciding what not to use since there wasn't an uninteresting sentence in the 11:47.

One outtake from the Hopkins story that ran in Wednesday's paper: "I did 130 rounds of boxing with three different guys, not separately, all together. Only me. I never get out of the ring. One in, one out. Running Valley Green. Running Boathouse Row. Day in, day out. Rest sometimes Sunday. Sometimes I'm looking too good; my trainer says take Saturday off, come back to work Monday. That grind, over and over. Then it becomes mental. To get up every morning when you really don't have to."

Latest Dykstra tidbit

That he tried to break Dwight Gooden out of Celebrity Rehab. Hopefully, somebody is writing a Dykstra book. (And it's not Lenny.)