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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

Truly a Peak Performance We Can Do Without

March 13, 2000|GRAHAME L. JONES

Northwestern basketball Coach Kevin O'Neill might come to regret the comment he made recently about his willingness to "hang glide naked off Mt. Everest for $2 million" in salary.

For starters, Bernie Lincicome of the Chicago Tribune said he would match the feat, at least in part.

"If Northwestern ever wins the Big Ten basketball title under O'Neill, or any other coach, I will hang glide off Mt. Everest," Lincicome wrote. "But not naked. And I'll have to see the $2 million up front."

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Trivia time: How many major league baseball players on opening day last season were from the Dominican Republic?

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Name game: Martin Zdravkov apparently is going to have to settle for being, well, just plain Martin Zdravkov.

The 36-year-old Bulgarian is a fervent fan of the Manchester United soccer team. Sad to say, a court in Sofia recently rejected his request to change his name--to Manchester United.

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Stanford stereotype: "The school's brainy image is often overplayed."

So says Mark Purdy in the San Jose Mercury News, before quickly qualifying the statement.

"But if you spend five minutes conversing with any Cardinal player, you know they could hold their own in a panel discussion with either Dick Vitale or George Stephanopoulos."

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Speaking of Vitale: Ron Rapoport of the Chicago Sun-Times suggests earplugs might be in order.

"I really think it's time Dick Vitale came with a warning like the one that precedes 'The Sopranos': 'This show contains GRAPHIC LOUDNESS and VIOLENT ABUSE TO THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE!!!!' "

Amen to that.

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Third and Sistine: The house Joe Montana owns, about 30 miles south of San Francisco, is on the market.

The San Francisco Chronicle describes the 6,460-square-foot home as sitting on 2.28 acres and boasting underground parking and a wine cellar.

Oh, yes, it also features a living room ceiling adorned with a reproduction of Michelangelo's "Creation of Adam," just like the Sistine Chapel.

Of course, the one in Rome is the original.

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A cold front: Count the Washington Post's Tony Kornheiser among those unimpressed by the high-flying Florida Panthers.

"Come on," he wrote, "what does anybody know about hockey in south Florida? The only use they have for ice is in a margarita. Surely Pavel Bure will be distracted by his engagement to Anna 'the Lobbing Lolita' Kournikova. I know I would be."

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Trivia answer: Sixty-six.

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And finally: Dick Butkus says that a onetime linebacker's options as an actor can be limited.

"I'm not fooling anybody," he told the Sun-Times' Rapoport. "I'm not going to be running across the stage in leotards and doing Shakespeare."

Thank heavens for that.

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