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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Kings Should Deal With Future Rather Than Past

December 09, 1996|RANDY HARVEY

There are 4,000 reasons for the Kings to make that rumored trade for Luc Robitaille.

That was the number of empty seats in the Forum Saturday night even though the Kings' opponent was Stanley Cup champion Colorado.

There are 13.69 million reasons for the Kings not to make the trade.

That's the number of dollars the Kings would have to pay Robitaille over the next four seasons, not including the large portion of his $2.9-million salary they would owe for the remainder of this season.

Also factor in that Robitaille is almost 31, didn't score 50 goals in the last two seasons combined and is a conscientious objector on defense.

Robitaille was popular when he was a King, but there's no guarantee he would draw crowds after the initial enthusiasm wears off unless the team plays more consistently.

Kevin Stevens, the man most often mentioned in the Robitaille rumors, has been a disappointment. He has three goals in 28 games and the team's worst plus-minus rating. But if the Kings are looking to move him and his substantial paycheck, they should trade for young players or draft choices.

That might not be the L.A. way. It is, however, the long road to which the Kings say they are committed.

*

There's not a better bargain in town than the exhibition of Muhammad Ali photographs by Howard Bingham at the Watts Labor Community Action Committee Center. Running today through Feb. 28, prices are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. . . .

Ali's personal photographer for more than 30 years, Bingham tells this story: After a flight from Jamaica to Chicago landed hard, The Greatest commandeered the plane's intercom and said, "I'm real sorry, folks, it was my first landing, the best I could do." . . .

How did John Elway's absence cause so much trouble for the Denver defense? . . .

Likewise, Leon Lett and the Dallas offense? . . .

We experts all knew defense would decide the San Francisco-Carolina game. Eventually . . .

College football's alliance almost has it right. Now take the winners of No. 1 Florida State vs. No. 3 Florida in the Sugar Bowl and No. 2 Arizona State vs. No. 4 Ohio State in the Rose Bowl and match them for the national championship. . . .

Mario Lemieux's last games in Southern California could be Tuesday night at the Forum and Wednesday night at the Pond of Anaheim. . . .

The NCAA women's soccer semifinals Friday--Notre Dame, 3-2, over Portland and North Carolina, 2-1, over Santa Clara--ranked with any Final Four men's basketball tournament I've seen for intensity and entertainment. . . .

Billy Packer, who determined early that Richard Jewell wasn't the Olympic bomber and established a defense fund for him, has investigated the firing of Jim Harrick and concluded, "Chancellor Young had no choice except to do what happened." . . .

Did it make you feel as old as it did me to see the sons of Henry Bibby and Bill Walton playing in the Wooden Classic? . . .

On the card of the Juan Manuel Marquez-Nelson Medina featherweight fight tonight at the Forum is the Miss Ringsider Contest. I think Christy Martin could take any of them. . . .

*

Visionary that he was, Pete Rozelle realized the NFL would never be the same after the owners became so greedy that they refused to share revenues from luxury boxes and Al Davis won the right in court to move from Oakland to Los Angeles. So Rozelle retired in 1989 at 62.

If he had been king, instead of merely commissioner, owners neither would have found it necessary nor had the right to move their franchises as long as they had loyal fans at home. And this stadium madness sweeping the land would never have become an epidemic.

Rozelle might not have been on the right side of the law, but he knew it would be bad for the league when Davis deserted Oakland.

Davis didn't even know what was good for Davis.

*

Despite what you might have read in some obituaries, Rozelle would have been the first to admit he didn't invent revenue sharing in sports. After leaving the Dodgers in 1950, Branch Rickey proposed revenue sharing for his Continental Baseball League. The league didn't fly, but the idea did in both the AFL and NFL.

*

While watching NBA scouts flee Westwood, I was thinking BYU got dissed, the only crime you used to hear associated with NASCAR was bootleggin', maybe the Washington Redskins needed more than 10 days to figure out Tampa Bay, the NFC's going to win the Super Bowl again.

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