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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Other Than That, Team Looks Fine

July 28, 1996|SHAV GLICK

The Lakers' acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal doesn't impress Peter May, basketball analyst for the Boston Globe. This is how he sees what's ahead for the Lakers after the $120-million move:

"Barring a trade, they might not even have as good a team as they did last year. . . . Shaq is going to learn quite quickly that Nick Van Exel ain't exactly Penny Hardaway and that Elden Campbell ain't exactly Horace Grant. Shaq is going to feel pressure to win unlike anything he experienced in Orlando.

"The L.A. fans are going to learn quickly that they have a $120-million mercenary in the middle who is an indifferent rebounder. . . . The stripped-down Lakers, meanwhile, have left [Coach Del] Harris with a bench right out of the L.A. Summer League."

Trivia time: What two Hall of Famers are in the top five in career pinch-hit batting average (minimum 100 at-bats)?

Keeping it in-house: Al Unser Jr., driver of a Marlboro-sponsored car for Roger Penske and winless this year, on what it would be like to win today's Indy car race at Michigan:

"It would be very good to win the Marlboro 500, seeing how Roger Penske owns the track and Marlboro sponsors the race."

Honesty prevails: Chicago Cub center fielder Brian McRae didn't mince words when asked if his team had a chance at winning the National League Central championship.

"We're not a very good team," McRae said. "We have to be realistic. We're short in some areas--power hitting and fourth and fifth starting pitchers. It's no secret."

Manager Jim Riggleman's reaction: "We can't put muzzles on our players."

Clean living: Before the Canadian swim team departed for the Olympic Games, Coach Dave Johnson had swimmers sign a pledge of abstinence.

We don't know if the 17 females and eight males adhered to it or not, but we do know that the Canadians produced only three medal winners in swimming, one silver and two bronze.

Double claim: Miller Barber recently won a senior tournament at the Edgewood Tahoe course, giving him the right to claim the championships of both California and Nevada. Why? The state line runs through the course, leaving the ninth hole and part of the eighth green in California--the rest of the 18 holes are in Nevada.

Trivia answer: Rod Carew, .323 (40 for 124) and Al Kaline, .322 (37 for 115).

He always wins: Michael Jordan was picked as Player of the Half-Century by Sport magazine, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

The special anniversary issue of the Los Angeles-based magazine, had as its runners-up: Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson and Jim Brown.

And finally: Columnist Woody Woodburn of the Ventura County Star writes, "If I were an NBA owner, I'd give my franchise to a player and let him pay me $120 million over the next seven years."

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