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Now, If He Were These People . . .


Movie star Peter Sellers played so many roles with such conviction that he sometimes misplaced his own identity. A fan once approached him and asked, "Are you Peter Sellers?" He replied, "Not today," and walked on.

Today, like Sellers, I am someone else.

I am thinking out loud.

I'm Rupert Murdoch, a multibillionaire media mogul. I'll buy the Los Angeles Dodgers for $350 million.

I would buy them even if they were in the American League. But I want the Dodgers because they're in the same league with the Atlanta team owned by a multibillionaire media mogul whose name is, I believe, Teddy Twit.

TT has suggested I am Hitler. He has called me slimy. He has called me an enemy of the republic. He has insulted me because we are competitors in the cable-television business.

Now it's baseball. Certainly, my plans for the Dodgers this winter include such competition. I'll sign the Atlanta free agents Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Kenny Lofton.

Then I'll send TT a note. In its entirety, it will read, "Jane's next."

Now, I'm George Steinbrenner. I don't care about anyone else in baseball because no one ever cared about me. So when a shoe company offers a deal worth $95 million, do I take a vote of my enemies? No.

Baseball's leaderless fools want to stop me from making money only because they can't make money themselves. That's why I filed a lawsuit arguing that I have a right to make this deal.

Baseball's response was to kick me off the game's Executive Council. Yes, baseball's leaders in their finite wisdom had given me this choice: Make a $95 million deal? Or keep my seat on the Executive Council?


Now, I'm Mike Ditka.

I cut the millionaire loser Jim Everett.

I can because I'm Iron Mike.

Now, I'm Garry Kasparov, the world chess champion. I lose for the first time in a one-on-one match. I'm humiliated by a hunk of metal, the IBM supercomputer named Deep Blue.

Here's what I do next.

I go to CompUSA. For $39.95, I get upgraded.

Now, I'm Larry Bird. I'll hire Deep Blue to sit real close to me on the Indiana Pacers' bench.

Now, I'm Phil Jackson. I am Deep Blue with a beard. I am for hire.

That's because the Chicago Bulls don't want to pay what it will take to keep both Michael Jordan and me.

But the Los Angeles Lakers will. Michael outside, Shaq inside.

Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain all over again, only better.

Now, I'm Pat Riley. With my Miami Heat in desperate playoff straits, I notice the New York Knicks' starters on the bench late in a game we're winning easily. I do these things ...

Tell my second unit to start a fight. Remind my starters to stay on the bench because it's an automatic suspension if they join a fight.

Then I sit back and watch in amusement as the Knicks' starters leave the bench to join the fight, thereby earning suspensions for Games 6 and 7.

And I say it was all the Knicks' fault, did you see that terrible thing they did to my little ol' scrub?

I say my guys never left the bench because they are highly trained, responsible professionals.

So the Knicks' five players are suspended immediately, three for Game 6 and two for Game 7, giving my team a chance to win a series in which we trailed 3 games to 1.

All because of the rules that I know very well and maybe the Knicks' coach doesn't know so very well.

Late that night in my hotel room, I laugh and laugh.

Now, I'm Tony Gwynn, the San Diego Padres' great hitter. My wife is being sued for $50 million because she used Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo's picture for a jigsaw puzzle she is selling.

I'll ask my dear wife one question:

"You don't like my picture?"

Now, I'm Steve Spurrier, and I've turned down pro football because college is more fun.

Then I see my buddy, Rick Pitino, get $50 million from the Boston Celtics. I should pack my bags.

An NFL team soon will understand what NBA teams now understand. Great coaches can make a difference on the court if you pay them enough to give them power over their players.

Now, I'm Merlene Davis, a columnist at the Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader. I say Tubby Smith should turn down the Kentucky basketball job because I fear for his safety and the safety of his family if he loses.

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