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INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

And All This Time We Thought Ali Was the Greatest

November 05, 1996|MAL FLORENCE

Wilt Chamberlain in an interview with Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News: "[Michael] Jordan is the most visible player of the present, I'm the most visible player of the past.

"I just don't see how [broadcaster and former NBA center] Bill Walton has the right to say Michael is the greatest player ever. He can only say it's his opinion of the players he's seen. He saw me three or four years with the Lakers, that's all."

Chamberlain, 60, played his last season with the Lakers in 1972-73, when he was 37. Walton, who turns 44 today, was 21 at the time.

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Trivia time: Who holds the NBA record for most seasons leading the league in free-throw percentage?

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Advice: Charles Barkley is still needling Charles Oakley on their exhibition-game fight: "They tell me people on steroids have mood swings. I guess he was in a bad mood. Kids, don't do steroids. This is what can happen to you."

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Irish blockade: Lou Holtz says he would love to take his Notre Dame football team back to Ireland--on one condition.

"The only thing I'd like next time is a police escort all the time," the Irish coach said. "I thought New York traffic was bad. Most people here must live in a car. I've never seen traffic like this."

We invite Holtz to visit Los Angeles during rush hour.

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Personable guy: Freelance writer Norman Chad on Rick Venturi, the New Orleans Saints' new coach: "He was 1-31-1 at Northwestern and 1-10 with the Colts. I guess he interviews well."

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Heady stuff: Tod Leonard in the San Diego Union-Tribune: "If your karma needs adjustment, you might want to tune in to Phil Jackson's weekly radio show the next time you're in Chicago. It's called 'Zen Talk.' "

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Garbage time: Barbara Barker of Newsday, describing John Starks' offensive output in a recent New York Knick game:

"Starks led all scorers with 17, though most of his points came Bobby Bonilla style, after things were already decided."

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FYI: UCLA and USC have lost three conference football games each. That hasn't happened by the first week of November since 1941, when the Bruins finished with a 5-5-1 record, the Trojans 2-6-1.

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Looking back: On this day in 1938, USC upset previously unbeaten California before 95,000 at the Coliseum, 13-7. The Trojans went on to defeat previously unbeaten and untied Duke in the Rose Bowl game, 7-3.

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Trivia answer: Bill Sharman, seven, while playing for the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and '60s.

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And finally: Dallas Cowboy guard Nate Newton, who weighs 332 pounds:

"I'm going to be in every weight-loss program available after football. I'll be into liposuction and ab-crunchers and, if that doesn't work, then I'm just going to stay in bed, eating, and have them bury me in a piano."

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