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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BREIFING

Bulls Proof That Not Everybody Loves a Winner

March 19, 1998|MIKE PENNER

Whether he retires in June or agrees to sign with someone else as a free agent, Michael Jordan sounds like a man not long for the Chicago Bulls.

"It's hard to play for people who don't show the same loyalty toward you," Jordan was recently quoted in the Dallas Morning News. "There should never be this type of turmoil on a championship team when an organization is about to win their sixth championship.

"Success has a tendency to ruin all of us. In the midst of all that, people tend to try and take credit.

"I felt we were treated better when we hadn't won than when we had won five. This organization bent over backward for us, had a better appreciation for us, when we were on the verge of winning. Now we're on the verge of winning six and it's a different approach. It's a waste."

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Rebuttal, Rodman: Then again, maybe Bull management isn't all to blame for the coming implosion. After the Bulls recently lost to the lowly Dallas Mavericks, Dennis Rodman was asked if he was upset.

"Nah," Rodman replied. "It's just one of 82. I'm going to go out, have a couple of beers and party my butt off."

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Trivia time: What are the only two schools to win NCAA Division I men's basketball championships in four decades?

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Headbangers' soccer ball: If Alexi Lalas can moonlight as a self-made rock 'n' roll guitar hero, why can't heavy metal rockers take their boots on the road for a little soccer barnstorming?

That is precisely what the members of the English metal band Iron Maiden have planned for their spring tour of Europe. Enlisting the help of eight former soccer internationals, including former England captain Terry Butcher, Iron Maiden has scheduled a series of soccer challenge matches to coincide with concert gigs.

Soccer junkies through and through, the band is pictured on its new album, titled "Virtual XI," in a team photo alongside such contemporary British soccer stars as Paul Gascoigne of the Glascow Rangers, Ian Wright of Arsenal and Faustino Asprilla of Newcastle.

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Heard she was quite a player: Picking up on a popular theme at last week's Evert Cup, 17-year-old Venus Williams said it was great to have Steffi Graf back on the women's professional tennis tour.

"It's good for tennis," Williams said. "Everybody wants to see her back. Of course, I wasn't on the tour then, so I don't know what that was about."

Williams was asked what she was doing in 1988, the year Graf won her "Golden Slam"--the Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. championships, plus the Olympic gold medal.

"I was somewhere in Compton, California, in the third grade," said Williams, who added that her forehand "was probably very good" back then. "I was very tall too."

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Trivia answer: Indiana and Kentucky.

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And finally: Houston Rocket forward Charles Barkley, on whether he'd rather face Utah or Seattle in the playoffs: "That's like asking a guy on death row if he wants the electric chair or lethal injection. It doesn't matter. You're still dead."

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