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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

In Westwood This Film May Be Censored

July 16, 1999|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

He became a Trojan after all.

Charles O'Bannon, who considered USC before opting for UCLA and an eventual basketball national championship, began his film career Thursday when shooting started on "Love and Basketball," in which he plays the roommate and Trojan teammate of lead actor Omar Epps. It is either a big break, since he has been considering acting for some time, or a major stretch and tremendous test of his theatrical skills.

"Not too many people know," O'Bannon said of his role. "But the people I've told, they can't believe it. I look at the uniform I'll be wearing and I can't imagine wearing those colors for real. Eccchhhh.

"[Older brother] Ed just threw his arms out at me in disbelief, like, 'I can't believe you're doing this.' He was giving me a hard time. He's happy for me and everything, but also like he can't believe it."

Fight on.

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More basketball: O'Bannon, currently an NBA free agent, "plays" against Washington and California, among others, in his return to college for the New Line Cinema production. But not UCLA.

"That was one of the first things I checked," he said, laughing.

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Trivia time: The Seattle Mariners on Thursday played their first game in new Safeco Field, which has a retractable roof that allows for open-air games, weather permitting. What was the name of the stadium the last time a Seattle major league team played on grass under open skies?

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Bare facts: Pitcher Brian Anderson of the Arizona Diamondbacks accidentally locked himself out of his hotel room in Cincinnati while sleepwalking . . . naked. Without so much as socks.

"I guess as soon as the door closed behind me, I woke up," he said. "I looked around and said, 'What am I doing out here?' I went down the hallway to the elevators looking for one of those house phones, but there was none. I started to panic.

"Then I thought I'd go to the workout room, to see if I could find a towel and go to the front desk. I went down two floors and saw a USA Today and grabbed a couple of sections and put one in front of me and the other behind me.

"I saw a guy cleaning the workout room and asked him for a key. He looked at me weird and handed me a towel and called downstairs. A security guard came and let me in my room."

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More naked truths: Maybe there's something about Anderson. This is the same guy, after all, who last season, in trying to see if an iron was hot enough, burned a cheek.

Presumably on his face.

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Trivia answer: Sick's Stadium, home to the Seattle Pilots in 1969, the year before they became the Milwaukee Brewers.

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And finally: Texas Ranger reliever Jeff Zimmerman wasn't merely selected to the All-Star game as a rookie, impressive enough. He got there after playing in Europe and the independent Northern League and embarking on a fax campaign to get a tryout with the Rangers while playing in Winnipeg, Canada.

Cost for the Rangers to buy his contract: two dozen baseballs.

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