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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

One Slam Dunk . . . and the Wrist Is History

July 25, 1999|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Argentina is one of the teams to have fallen under the wheels of the U.S. basketball team at the Tournament of the Americas in Puerto Rico, but 19-year-old Andres Nocioni provided a memorable moment with an awesome slam over Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd.

"That made his day, made his week, made his life," Duncan said.

Nocioni was so impressive--or shocking--in driving past Garnett on the baseline and finishing with a reverse dunk over the outstretched arms of the two NBA stars that even they acknowledged the moment, smiling broadly as they walked off the court during an ensuing timeout.

"He gained respect," Garnett said. "He got his highlight, but I told him the next time I would try to break his wrist."

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Trivia time: What former San Diego State basketball player holds the school record for assists?

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Polishing the Apple: An annual ranking by the Sporting News of the 351 cities in the United States and Canada with a major league baseball, NFL, NBA, NHL team, an NCAA Division I football or basketball team or major league or NFL training camp has determined New York is No. 1 for sports.

The survey took into account factors such as success, attendance, ticket cost and availability, stadium concessions and weather and subjective factors along the lines of fan passion, ambience and franchise ownership stability. The New York metropolitan area was home over the last 12 months to the Yankees' record-breaking 1998, the Jets reaching the AFC title game, St. John's making the Elite Eight, the New Jersey Devils compiling the second-best regular-season record and the Knicks' surprising run to the NBA finals.

Los Angeles-Anaheim was ninth, up two spots from a year ago.

No. 351? Honolulu.

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More rankings: The ratings also included the best cities for:

Pro football: Green Bay.

Pro basketball: San Antonio.

Baseball: Cleveland.

Hockey: Toronto.

College football: Knoxville, Tenn.

College basketball: Durham, N.C.

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Game on! They barked. They screamed. They gave players a taste of the kind of passion Cleveland showed when it wouldn't allow Art Modell to take their colors or nickname with him to Baltimore in 1995.

Fans ended three lonely years without the NFL and welcomed the Browns in big numbers for the opening days of training camp. About 200 were there for the first session in suburban Cleveland, even in sweltering heat.

"We had to be here," said one fan, Dale Galbraith, who had driven six hours with a friend to see the workout.

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Trivia answer: Tony Gwynn.

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And finally: The Bay Area rivalry grows. "The Copyrighted Broadcast," the autobiography of former Giant play-by-play man Hank Greenwald, has been banned from 3Com Park and all team stores because it discusses management in unflattering terms. No problem. When San Francisco went to Oakland for the interleague series, the A's invited Greenwald to sign copies of the book during the game and appear on the postgame radio show with Bill King.

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