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June 08, 1998|MIKE DOWNEY

On TV and radio, baseball announcers often identify Dodger infielder Eric Young now as "E.Y."

And since his trade to the team, catcher Charles Johnson is sometimes referred to simply as "C.J."

During the NBA playoffs, Michael Jordan has been identified by NBC and TNT broadcasters as "M.J."

Just as Kevin Johnson of the Phoenix Suns is commonly known as "K.J."

If this trend continues, I believe we can soon eliminate the use of first and last names altogether.

What a great little space and time saver.

No longer will TV-radio people need to learn how to pronounce athletes' polysyllabic names. Monograms for everybody.

("Utah defeated the Lakers today, 100-99, behind K.M.'s 20 points and J.S.'s 15 assists. S.O. led L.A. with 30 points.")

I wonder who started this. Steven Spielberg, maybe, for not naming a certain movie of his "Extra Terrestrial."

Headline writers in the 1960s, to save room, originated those JFK/LBJ abbreviations, even though Kennedy and Johnson were not exactly Kennedyzynski or Johnsonopolous.

In his NFL days, linebacker Lawrence Taylor was condensed to "L.T," while Fox TV's James Brown is addressed on the air as "J.B."

I expect everyone in America to be addressed by their initials on TV eventually, from President B.C. to former NFL running back O.J.S.

It could create embarrassment, however, for a number of prominent sports figures, including Vlade Divac, Barry Sanders, Peter Ueberroth and Bobby Orr.

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