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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

And This From a Guy Who Wants to Be a Politician

January 13, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Houston Rocket forward Charles Barkley, named to the NBA All-Star game 11 times in his career, is only fourth in the balloting for the Western Conference team for this season's game in New York--and happy about it.

"We don't want any late surges," Barkley said. "I keep telling the Rockets not to make that announcement at home games, telling fans to vote for me, Clyde [Drexler] and Hakeem [Olajuwon].

"I've already got my room booked in Las Vegas for that weekend. As long as the fans don't put me in, I know the coaches aren't dumb enough to put me on the team."

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Kobe's fan club: Drexler told Eddie Sefko of the Houston Chronicle that the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, at 19, is more skilled than Michael Jordan was at that age:

"[Bryant's] skill level is incredible. His resolve, his ability to do things in the clutch, is incredible. The guy's a phenomenal player."

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Trivia time: What was the result the last time the Green Bay Packers played the Denver Broncos?

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Good timing: Steve Rosenbloom in the Chicago Tribune: "Barry Switzer resigned as coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Man, just when Valley Ranch had new metal detectors installed."

A Davis clone? Jim Reeves in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram: "Accepting Barry Switzer's 'resignation'--a foregone conclusion months ago for anyone with half a brain--only solves half the Cowboys' problems.

"Someone still has to lasso [Jerry] Jones and get him back under control before he starts showing up wearing a white satin running suit, just like his idol, Al Davis."

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Gotham gouge: New Jersey's Jayson Williams on buying $300 tickets for friends when the Nets played the Knicks recently in New York:

"They weren't even close to the court. My friends wanted to sit by Spike Lee. The only way they'll ever see Lee is if I rent one of his movies."

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Quiet please! The Denver offensive line collectively refuses to do media interviews and thus has earned the nickname "the Orange Hush."

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NFC West put-down: ESPN's Mike Lupica on the San Francisco 49ers: "[They] played an Ivy League schedule."

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Looking back: On this day in 1962, Wilt Chamberlain scored an NBA regulation-game record 73 points to lead the Philadelphia Warriors to a 135-117 victory over the Chicago Packers. Later in the season, Chamberlain would score 100 points against the New York Knicks during a game in--of all places--Hershey, Pa.

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Trivia answer: The Packers won, 41-6, in 1996. The Broncos lead the series, 4-3-1.

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And finally: Mark Purdy writing in the San Jose Mercury News before Sunday's NFC title game between Green Bay and San Francisco:

"[The 49ers] didn't come this far to let the Packers run over them again. So that's my pick. Make it the [49ers] by a field goal. Make it 27-24.

"Feel free to call me a fool if I'm wrong. At least I'm no coward."

OK, Mark, you're no coward but you are a fool.

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