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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Day Is in Sight When NBA Means Newborn Athletes

May 14, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

With the trend of college undergraduates and even high school players making themselves available for the NBA draft, Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press envisions this scenario in 2014 in Los Angeles:

"Six-year-old Joey "Slamma" Jamma called a press conference to announce that he was skipping elementary school and jumping straight to the NBA draft.

" 'I'm doing this for my family,' Jamma said. 'I gave it a lot of thought and talked with all my stuffed animals. But in the end, it had to be my decision.'

"Jamma is a 5-foot basketball star at Our Lady of the Rims school in suburban Los Angeles. In his kindergarten season, he averaged 40 points and 20 rebounds--impressive numbers for any age."

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Trivia time: Which NHL team was previously known as the Falcons?

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Fashion holdout: Pat Riley set the style trend when he was coaching the Lakers and now many NBA coaches are following suit--no pun intended--and have their own clothing deals.

Chicago Bull Coach Phil Jackson is not among them, saying, "My coach at the Knicks for 10 years, Red Holzman, used to buy three suits at Brooks Brothers--a brown, a gray and a blue. That's the way I feel about it."

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Collision course: Eric Davis saw a potential problem when Cincinnati Red Manager Ray Knight started him in the outfield along with Eric Owens and Eric Anthony.

"If everybody comes in yelling, 'Eric!' we'll all collide," he said.

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Next stop?: Sam Smith of the Chicago Tribune suggests that Magic Johnson, now exploring his options, would be a perfect fit with the Indiana Pacers.

"Johnson, going on 37, is a short-term player," Smith wrote. "He needs to be with a veteran team that is close to winning, not one trying to build and win with young players, like the Lakers or Miami Heat."

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Free at last: Mike Lupica, in Esquire, on Manager Davey Johnson leaving Cincinnati for Baltimore: "He was happier to get away from Marge Schott than people were to chopper out of Saigon at the end of Vietnam."

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FYI: The Seattle SuperSonics, coached by Lenny Wilkens, won their only NBA championship in the 1978-79 season by defeating the Washington Bullets.

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Looking back: On this day in 1920, pitcher Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators recorded his 300th victory, a 9-8 triumph over the Detroit Tigers.

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Trivia answer: The Detroit Red Wings, who changed their nickname in 1932.

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And finally: You can't blame Orlando Magic Coach Brian Hill if he feels like Rodney Dangerfield. He didn't receive a single vote from the media in coach-of-the-year balloting.

"We've won 50, 57 and 60," Hill said. "We went from no playoff wins to the NBA finals in one year. Could somebody have done better? I don't know. A lot of guys could have done a lot worse."

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