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June 17, 1997|LARRY STEWART

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here.

What: "What Makes Winners Win," by sportscaster Charlie Jones

Publisher: Birch Lane Press/Carol Publishing Group

Price: $18.95

Looking for some positives in a sports world that includes too many criminals, malcontents, weirdos and radio talk-show hosts? Tired of stories about drug, alcohol and sexual abuse, domestic violence and infidelity? Then this book is for you.

Charlie Jones has been in broadcasting since 1947--he started when he was 15 in Fort Smith, Ark.--and has been a network sportscaster since 1960. Jones, a USC graduate, takes the reader through conversations with more than 100 athletes, coaches and managers, who talk about their secrets to success.

Some samples:

Pat Riley: "Earvin 'Magic' Johnson developed the most important skill that any player, that any person can develop. He knew exactly what it was that he wanted. He wanted to be a basketball player. He visualized himself being a great player. That's what it's all about."

Johnson: "Pat Riley and I are very similar. We want to win so badly. We want nothing else in our lives but to win."

John Wooden: "I have always felt, in spite of what seems to be the general feeling, that it's easier to stay on top than it is to get there. I think it's far more difficult to get there. Once you're there, you have learned so much along the way that it puts you in a much better state of mind to stay at or near the top than it is to get there in the first place."

Bill Walton: "Coach Wooden always taught us that it wasn't so much about competing against the opposition as it was about competing against an ideal, a level of perfection as opposed to just winning that game."

Greg Louganis: "You always want your opponent to have a career day because that will elevate your performance to a level that you didn't know you were capable of."

Dan Jansen: "I do not try to be better than anybody else. I only try to be better than myself."

Arnold Palmer: "I'd rather win one tournament in my life than make the cut every week."

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