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THE INSIDE TRACK | PAGE TWO / RANDY HARVEY

Hollywood Park Prepared to Welcome Clippers in '99

June 05, 1997|RANDY HARVEY

Even the best and brightest from the Clipper front office who were attempting to persuade him otherwise finally are convinced Donald T. Sterling will not move the team to the Pond. He is dead set against making the commute from Beverly Hills to Anaheim. I think that's something we can all understand.

That doesn't mean the Clippers won't soon be playing in a magnificent new arena with 20,000 seats and luxury suites.

It would be at Hollywood Park, across the street from the Forum. If the two parties reach agreement in the near future, the Clippers could be moving to Inglewood for the start of the 1999 season. That's the same time the Lakers plan to move out to begin tenancy in the proposed new arena downtown.

"I've met with Donald, my good friend, and Andy Roeser a number of times," Hollywood Park's vice chairman, Harry Ornest, confirmed Wednesday. "If we can fight through some final details, we could start breaking ground tomorrow."

Roeser, the Clippers' executive vice president, said he wishes the negotiations were that far along.

"If they're that close to making a deal with us, I'll go to the hardware store and buy the shovels," he said.

Roeser, however, acknowledged a deal could happen.

"We're having discussions that may prove productive," he said.

One person encouraging them is NBA Commissioner David Stern, who met with Ornest and Sterling during a recent visit to Los Angeles.

Stern was impressed that Hollywood Park has an environmental impact report, financing and even an architect--HOK of Kansas City. The arena, Ornest said, would be modeled on Chicago's United Center, presumably without the championship banners.

All that's needed is a team.

Sterling can provide that. I'd advise him to do it. His limo ride would be even shorter than to the Sports Arena.

*

Are you having as much difficulty as I am telling the good guys from the bad guys? . . .

On the same day The Cigarette-Smoking Man announces he's the true hero of "The X-Files," a friend of Al Davis' calls to tell me about all the checks the Raider owner writes to his former players who are down on their luck. . . .

Maybe Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services knew something when it named Davis to its honorary committee for the humanitarian-of-the-year award, which goes to Sterling on Monday night. . . .

I can't make it. That's the same night a screening of an independent film, "Dream With the Fishes," is scheduled for a Santa Monica theater. The invitation promises: "Nude bowling tournament to follow. Clothing optional." . . .

That's also the night the IHL's Turner Cup finals resume at the Long Beach Arena between the Ice Dogs and the Detroit Vipers after an eight-day layoff. In Michael Jordan time, that's 368 holes of golf. . . .

Charlie Sifford and Lee Elder are featured in Tiger Woods' next Nike commercial. It's about time some of the true pioneers for racial equality on the golf course began reaping the rewards. . . .

While on the subject of pioneers, Julius Erving has another new job besides vice president of the Orlando Magic. . . .

In a salute to the late Wendell Scott, the only African American to win a NASCAR race, Erving and former pro football player Joe Washington have started the stock car circuit's first wholly minority-owned team. . . .

"It don't rain in Indianapolis in the summertime." . . .

Congratulations to O.C. Smith. His song that includes that line provided a quip for more than one sportswriter during last week's Indy 500. . . .

Of considerably more value, his benefit concert in February raised $40,000 for the Crenshaw High weight room. . . .

In a ceremony hosted by Washington Redskin safety James Washington, an alumnus of Jordan, Crenshaw's state-of-the art training facility reopened Wednesday. Until recently, it had neither electricity nor running water. . . .

The project was sponsored by Team HEAL, funded by Orthopaedic Hospital, the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Center and HealthSouth Sports Medicine & Rehabilitation Center. . . .

Three local college players at the NBA's pre-draft camp in Chicago this week are UCLA's Charles O'Bannon, Long Beach State's James Cotton and USC's Stais Boseman. It has been a busy spring for Boseman, who also participated in the Raiders' four-day mini-camp as a defensive back.

*

While wondering if the French Open would be more interesting if clothing were optional, I was thinking: The third time is the charm for Free House, Garth Snow sounds more like a country singer than a hockey goalie, who needs Jerry Rice anyway?

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