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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

All That Sand, All That Coconut Oil, All Those . . .

July 30, 1996|HELENE ELLIOTT

The Olympics have made Washington Post columnist Tony Kornheiser a fervent fan of beach volleyball, a sport he used to mock: "I mean, they play it in sand. Who did they get to coach the national team, David Hasselhoff? I thought of indoor, six-on-a-side volleyball as a real sport, and beach volleyball as a trend sport. . . . Just like soccer is a real sport, and beach soccer, with three-on-a-side, and the goalie wearing a frankfurter on his head would be a trend sport. But beach volleyball is way cool."

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Add Kornheiser: Among the reasons he likes it: "A beach volleyball crowd has a different look than at most sporting events I've covered. . . . I've been in a lot of gyms; this is the first one that ever smelled like coconut oil.

"My guess is 90% of the crowd was under 35 years old, and 50% of the spectators--men and women--weren't wearing all their clothing. It was a generational watershed event for me. Being a fat, old, bald guy I stood out like Bob Dole in a mosh pit."

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Trivia time: Who are the only players in NBA history to have 16,000 points and 12,000 rebounds?

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Crime doesn't pay: Rowdy the Raccoon, mascot of the Bend (Ore.) Bandits, is out of a job after being accused of squirting water and throwing gravel at his former girlfriend during a game.

The man behind the costume, David Scott Karr, 34, was arrested on three counts of menacing but has not been charged. Bandit spokesman Tom Hamilton said Karr was dismissed after the incident.

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Show-and-tell: Impress your friends and neighbors--bring a genuine NBA player to school when it's your turn for show-and-tell.

That's what the winner of a contest sponsored by the league and Toys R Us can do.

The catch is that the winner, who will be chosen in a random drawing, will have to listen to Jerry Stackhouse give a motivational speech at school.

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Earl of Baltimore: Oriole Manager Davey Johnson was overjoyed to get a visit from his mentor, Earl Weaver, last weekend, and the club honored Weaver in advance of his induction into baseball's Hall of Fame next weekend.

"Seeing Earl made my day," Johnson said. "It was refreshing to talk to him. I tried to rub up against him and get some of the magic."

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Everyone's a critic: Add Phil Mushnick of the New York Post to the list of critics unhappy with NBC's Olympic coverage: "NBC pulled a bait and switch. It advertised that it would cover the Olympics. But it only has covered American Olympians, mostly those with a good shot to medal."

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He's got the Magic's number: Michael Jordan thinks the Orlando Magic will face some tough times now that Shaquille O'Neal has left to play for the Lakers. Not that he has much sympathy for the downfall of an Eastern Conference rival, of course.

"Orlando is going to go through an identity crisis," Jordan said. "Penny [Hardaway] is going to be maybe even better, but other players are going to be exposed without the double-teaming of Shaq, especially Dennis Scott and Horace [Grant]."

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Trivia answer: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Robert Parish, Walt Bellamy, Bob Pettit and Buck Williams.

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And finally: The much-traveled Kevin Mitchell of the Boston Red Sox is upset because he hasn't yet been sent to a contending team, preferably in the National League. "I want out," Mitchell said. "I'm sick of this. There is nothing going on here. I want to be playing for something."

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