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THE INSIDE TRACK | NOTES ON A SCORECARD / ALLAN MALAMUD

Bryant a Record Setter From His First Game

July 31, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

Kobe Bryant will be an instant NBA record setter. . . .

When Bryant makes his Laker debut Nov. 1 against the Phoenix Suns at the Forum, he will become the youngest person to play in an NBA game. . . .

The graduate of Lower Merion (Pa.) High will be 18 years 2 months old. . . .

The record has been held since 1947 by Stan Brown, who was 18 years 5 months old when he played his first game for the Philadelphia Warriors. . . .

Among the things the Lakers loved about Bryant's performance in the Summer Pro League at Long Beach was his free-throw shooting. . . .

In four games, he shot 83.6% from the line, great in any league these days. . . .

The 6-foot-6 guard led the Laker team in scoring with a 25-point average and in rebounds with 5.8. . . .

Shaquille O'Neal, who will be 24 years 7 months when he makes his Laker debut, will spend the next six weeks in town acting the leading role in the Warner Bros. motion picture, "Steel." . . .

O'Neal's fellow thespian Jack Nicholson plans to keep his court-side seats at the Forum even though the price was raised from $500 apiece to $600. . . .

"Great," said Nicholson about the Lakers' signing of O'Neal. "We'll be a lot tougher on defense now with him clogging the middle. And he can run with us too. This is a whole new ballclub, one that gives us a shot." . . .

Season-ticket sales continue to boom and are nearing the cutoff point when a certain number of seats will be put away and made available for individual games. . . .

The Lakers' selection with the 24th pick on the first round, guard Derek Fisher of Arkansas Little Rock, shot free throws even better than Bryant during the Summer Pro League, connecting on 90% of his attempts. He averaged 16.2 points and 7.2 assists. . . .

Look-a-likes: Michael Johnson and A.C. Green. . . .

With the retirement of Tom Lasorda, Jim Leyland, in his 11th year with the Pittsburgh Pirates, now has the longest tenure of any major league manager. Tom Kelly is in his 10th year with the Minnesota Twins. . . .

Bill Russell's uniform number, 18, matches the number of years he played with the Dodgers. . . .

Lasorda has no hobbies, but the personal section of Russell's biography in the Dodger media guide says, "Enjoys a good game of billiards." . . .

Second baseman Jose Vizcaino was batting .303 for the New York Mets before being traded to Cleveland, but it was his defense that appealed the most to the Indians. Vizcaino, a converted shortstop, has made six errors this season compared to 15 for Carlos Baerga, who was sent to the Mets. . . .

Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, who will make the first defense of his International Boxing Federation flyweight title Monday against Raul Juarez of Mexico at the Forum, is one of the best boxer-punchers in any division. . . .

Johnson has 22 knockout wins on his 29-1 record, but is most respected for his quickness and elusiveness. . . .

He is also the only fighter to own a barber shop in Washington, D.C., "Too Sharp Creations." . . .

UCLA will play at the nation's second largest football stadium--102,485-seat Neyland Stadium at Knoxville, Tenn.--on Sept. 7 and the largest--102,501-seat Michigan Stadium at Ann Arbor--on Sept. 28. . . .

The look at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars is strictly that of the Pacific 10 Conference with Mark Brunell from Washington the starter and Rob Johnson from USC the backup. . . .

USC has kept alive its streak of having at least one gold medalist in every Summer Olympics since 1912. . . .

The Trojan winners at Atlanta have been hammer thrower Balazs Kiss from Hungary and swimmers Brad Bridgewater and Kristine Quance. Quance, of Northridge, was awarded a gold for swimming for the U.S. in the preliminary race of a relay. . . .

An Atlanta newspaper reported that actor Dennis Hopper, trying not to be recognized, made a reservation at a restaurant under the name of "Dennis Miller." . . .

Now that the gymnastics competition finally is over, maybe I no longer will be seeing balance beams in my dreams. . . .

NBC track and field announcer Tom Hammond is a pro's pro. . . .

Of all the athletes in Atlanta, the divers seem to show each other the most respect. . . .

It would be nice for Carl Lewis to win a record 10th gold medal, but not at the expense of a more deserving U.S. 400-meter relay runner.

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