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MORNING BRIEFING

He Takes a Shellacking, Keeps Shaqing

February 22, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

In an article in the February issue of Esquire magazine, Michael Wilbon writes of the physical abuse Orlando's Shaquille O'Neal takes in the NBA:

"Johnny Bach--the sage veteran assistant basketball coach of the Charlotte Hornets who's been around such antediluvian centers as George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar--says of the pounding Shaq takes in the post:

" 'Nobody, not even Wilt in his prime, was tormented like this guy. There's more doubling, tripling on him, more than anyone in the history of the NBA.' "

Just a hunch, but Wilt might not agree.

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Trivia time: Which is the only school to have won the NCAA and NIT championships in the same season?

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Let it happen: Happy Hairston, a starting forward on the 1971-72 Laker team that set an NBA record with 69 victories, isn't concerned that the Chicago Bulls are threatening that mark.

"I don't get paid residuals on it," he said. "That and 15 cents would get me on the subway. What the Bulls are doing is tremendous. But if they break our mark, it doesn't take anything away from our accomplishment."

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Note: Hairston averaged 13.1 rebounds that championship season, second on the team to Chamberlain's 19.2.

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Bullmania: How is life on the road with the Bulls? According to center Luc Longley, it is like traveling with a rock band.

"Everyone wants a piece of us," Longley said. "I mean, it gets so crazy that when we go on the road now, they really do sneak us through kitchens and back entrances to our hotel rooms."

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Fashion show: On Valentine's Day, the Indianapolis Ice of the International Hockey League wore pink uniforms, adorned with large red hearts on the front and four Cupids on the back.

In addition, the pucks used in the game had pink hearts on them.

It was a sweetheart of a game for the Ice, which defeated the Kansas City Blades, 4-2.

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Handy stats: From Playboy magazine: "Average ring size of the American male: 11. Average size of a Super Bowl ring: 13. Largest Super Bowl ring ever made (for Chicago Bear William Perry): 23. Size Perry had it changed to last year: 25."

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Add Z file: In case you were wondering, the top two home run hitters with last names starting with Z are Gus Zernial (237) and Richie Zisk (207).

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Looking back: On this day in 1987, T.C. Chen defeated Ben Crenshaw on the first playoff hole and won the Los Angeles Open at Riviera before a record crowd of 46,100.

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Trivia answer: City College of New York in 1950. CCNY beat Bradley in both title games.

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Quotebook: Stuart Symington, then a Missouri senator, when Charles O. Finley moved his franchise from Kansas City to Oakland in 1967: "Oakland is the luckiest city since Hiroshima."

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