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His Grief Over NBA's Loss Is Jordanesque

Morning Briefing

January 16, 1999|MAL FLORENCE

Tony Kornheiser in the Washington Post: "Cancel the season. You heard me: Blow it up. Don't play the games.

"The NBA should declare a period of mourning for Michael Jordan, and it should run all the way to next season. Nobody wants to see a 50-game season anyway--let alone without Jordan.

" . . . The only people who stand to gain from playing this bruised season are the very people who assaulted it--the owners and players.

"It's been clear for months that fans didn't care if the season was played. With Jordan out of the mix there's even less reason to continue a charade of a season."

Trivia time: Who holds the NFL playoff record for interceptions in a game?

Tales of Jordan:

* Birmingham Baron Manager Terry Francona, on doling out double-A meal money to his struggling outfielder in 1994:

"There's something odd about going up to Michael Jordan and slipping him $16 a day."

* Jordan, who was fined $10,000 and suspended for one game, at a cost of $48,480, after fighting with Reggie Miller of the Indiana Pacers in 1993:

"For $48,000, I'd like to have hit him more than once."

Brits unimpressed: Ron Rapoport in the Chicago Sun Times: "How many Chinese does it take to change a light bulb? A survey of 1,000 people in nine Chinese cities conducted in May named Jordan as the second-most widely known American after Thomas Edison.

"Jordan's retirement was a huge story all over the world, with a few exceptions. Such as Britain's Daily Mail, which took note in a six-line item buried among the darts and squash results."

Premature: Jay Kilty in the Minneapolis Star Tribune: "The Vikes must win two games to make the previous 17 meaningful. Those two games will be against two tough opponents.

"Atlanta comes in healthy and confident, but the key there is Atlanta 'comes in.' I don't care how good the opponent is, ain't nobody going to come into [segue to NFL films voice-over] 'the woven carpet of the Mmmmetro-dome' and steal a game."

Looking back: On this day in 1974, Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford were elected to the baseball Hall of Fame.

Trivia answer: Vernon Perry of the Houston Oilers, with four against the San Diego Chargers in 1979.

And finally: Charles Barkley, asked by Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette to speculate about which young players might replace Jordan:

"I think that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. You don't pass torches. You play and earn a torch. Nobody gave Dr. J the torch. Nobody gave Magic Johnson or Larry Bird the torch.

"That's one of the problems with the NBA. We want to make people stars. That's why we've got very few good players and a lot of players who think they're good."

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