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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Aside From That Choking Thing, He's a Great Guy

March 05, 1998|MAL FLORENCE

Gregg Popovich, coach and general manager of the San Antonio Spurs, recently defended Latrell Sprewell on his weekly radio program:

"It was more a temper and anger thing directed at one individual [P.J. Carlesimo]. It's not his way of life or anything like that. He's not off the court raising hell and getting into trouble and in jail and carrying on."

Popovich made his comments before Sprewell lost control of his car while changing lanes on a Northern California freeway, causing another vehicle to flip on its roof.

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Trivia time: Which was the first school to have a perfect league record in what is now called the Pacific 10 Conference while playing a minimum of 10 men's basketball games?

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Dogtown: Jayson Stark in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Her royal highness Marge Schott just had the Reds rename the streets at their new spring-training complex. After Johnny Bench or Joe Morgan?

"Of course not. After her dogs. So yes, there's a Schottzie Avenue and Schottzie 02 Way."

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Limited vocabulary: Tony DeMarco in the Denver Post: "Reds Manager Jack McKeon used a four-letter expletive 20 times during his first address to his full squad.

"But that's down from 37 when he took over for Ray Knight midway through last season, and from the 35 he used at the first meeting of this spring."

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Only in Mexico: Don King, who is in Mexico City to promote his pay-per-view boxing matches featuring Julio Cesar Chavez opposing Miguel Angel Gonzalez on Saturday, was on his way from the airport to his hotel when his car was stopped and four armed men stole King's $100,000 Rolex watch.

"If they had known it was Don King, they never would have stopped me," King reportedly said.

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Just stay awake: Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Jose Silva missed three days of workouts after straining a muscle in his neck while reaching to shut off his alarm clock.

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Looking back: On this day in 1938, legendary Seabiscuit, high-weighted at 130 pounds, was upset by Stagehand, carrying 100 pounds, in the fourth running of the Santa Anita Handicap. The winning margin was a head.

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Trivia answer: Oregon, 10-0, in the 1925-26 season when the league was known as the Pacific Coast Conference and divided into Northern and Southern divisions.

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And finally: Barry Switzer, the former Dallas Cowboy coach, won three national championships while coaching at Oklahoma, but he isn't in the College Football Hall of Fame.

"I can't say it matters to me much, but I've never even been on the ballot," he said. "Coaches get considered every year who have fewer wins than me, coaches who never won one national championship, let alone three."

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