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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Mr. Straight Couldn't Get Him to Toe the Line

December 22, 1996|THOMAS BONK

So the San Antonio Spurs sent coach Bob Hill to Boot Hill. Do you think former Spur Dennis Rodman, who clashed regularly with Hill, was glad or something?

Not actually. Rodman would rather have his hair dyed black, than say something nice about Gregg Popovich, Hill's replacement.

Rodman wrote in his autobiography: "Gregg Popovich was the big problem in San Antonio. We didn't get along from the beginning. He's Mr. Discipline, Mr. Straight, Mr. Conservative.

"Those guys in San Antonio can kiss my . . . , especially Popovich. He wanted to 'tame' me. Then when he found out I wasn't his puppy dog, he set out to drag my name through the mud in the NBA."

Rodman, who is capable of doing that by himself, was traded to Chicago for Will Perdue.

In his book Rodman said he couldn't have cared less if they had "traded me for Babe the Pig."

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Trivia time: Who was the first Heisman Trophy winner to play professional football?

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Icing on the cake: As of last week, the NHL was outdrawing the NBA in nine of the 14 markets they share.

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Now we know: Jeff Gordon of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a list of some reasons why Nebraska lost to Texas in the Big 12 Conference championship game at St. Louis.

Some samples:

--Pregame pep talk by Lawrence Phillips.

--Halftime adjustments courtesy of Rich Brooks.

--Forced to dress in the Rams' locker room.

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Tell Thurston Howell: Jerry Tarkanian doesn't think NBA regular seasons are so Fan-tastic.

Said Tarkanian: "I would rather watch 'Gilligan's Island' than a regular-season NBA game."

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Roger-bashing: In Boston, there is no shortage of bad feelings over Roger Clemens' signing with Toronto.

From Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle: "The guy was blessed with a $31-million arm and a pea-sized brain."

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This just in: According to a readers' survey in Baseball America, the best owner is Ted Turner with Peter O'Malley second.

Turner also turned up No. 8 on the list of worst owners, won (lost?) by Marge Schott with George Steinbrenner the runner-up.

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Trivia answer: 1938 winner Davey O'Brien of Texas Christian.

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And finally: Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News: "Mike Keenan won a Stanley Cup with the Rangers, gave the city's hockey fans and the city's sports history the grand night of June 14, 1994. Nobody ever takes that away from Keenan. He came here and delivered, like a champion. Then he left with the grace of someone jumping bail."

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