It's called merchandising: Les Alexander, the junk bond trader who bought the Houston Rockets just before they won their back-to-back NBA titles and celebrated each title by firing his publicist, has struck again, changing the logo, uniforms, colors and even re-painting the court.
Out are the old red and gold. In are the new "hot" colors, midnight blue and silver.
"Did you ever walk into a store and ask for a mustard-and-redshirt?" Alexander said. "Those colors are passe. The new uniforms are fantastic."
The new uniforms have vertical stripes and so far no one has said anything nice about them.
"I don't like them, personally," Robert Horry said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and try to be on the owner's side or anything."
Some players want to receive their championship rings on opening night in their old uniforms or warm-ups.
"Yeah, I like that idea," Sam Cassell said. "We didn't win the championship in these [uniforms]. I'd back that idea. That's a great idea."
Said a fan, Allen Lewis: "The lettering is ugly . . . and the color scheme looks like something the Cleveland Cavaliers would put on their uniforms. No, come to think of it, the Cavalier colors are much better than the ugly excuse for modernization that Les has devised."
Of 23 fans polled by the Houston Chronicle, 17 hated the uniforms.
Add merchandising: "Burnie," the Miami Heat mascot who was convicted of aggravated assault for dragging a female fan onto the floor against her will, now faces a $1-million lawsuit stemming from the incident.
Trivia time: What college basketball coach has taken the most teams to the NCAA tournament?
Ouch: Bob Kravitz in the Rocky Mountain News: "The Rockies are already having a great off-season. Tommy Lasorda was retained for another year."
Learning experience: Jet offensive tackle Everett McIver, making his first start at the position opposite Buffalo's Bruce Smith in a recent game, decided to try to upset the perennial all-pro by taunting him.
"Brad Baxter [Jet fullback] was just shaking his head and trying to tell the guy to shut up," Smith said. "Don't throw gasoline on the fire. Just shut up."
Smith registered 1 1/2 sacks and knocked quarterback Boomer Esiason out of the game with a crushing hit.
Add Jets: At 1-5 after a 26-15 loss to Carolina in which they rushed for 25 yards, they have dropped back to pre-expansion status, leading the New York Times to poll their old players on the problem.
Former halfback Freeman McNeil, now an announcer, said it was effort. Former kicker Jim Turner, now a talk show host, said it was attitude.
"When I walk into a school," said former receiver Wesley Walker, now a teacher in Queens, "everyone asks me, 'What's wrong with the Jets?' I tell them the Jets are a new team with not much talent and some of their players with talent have been hurt. Basically, I don't think they're that good."
Trivia answer: Eddie Sutton, who has been in the tournament with Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State.
Quotebook: Phoenix Sun star forward Charles Barkley on the replacements working during the NBA's lockout of its referees: "I never thought I would say it, but I want my old, terrible NBA officials back."