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The Inside Track | Morning Briefing

This Could Be Tennis' Version of Battle Royal

May 29, 2000|MIKE TERRY

Longtime Wimbledon rivals Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe will relive their championship finals of the 1980s in an unusual venue--Buckingham Palace.

Borg and McEnroe will be playing on the palace's outdoor courts July 2 to benefit the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. It will mark the first time Queen Elizabeth II has given permission for the court to be used for such an event.

Prince Andrew will serve as host of the activities, which also will include a mixed doubles match involving Anna Kournikova, Jana Novotna, Henri Leconte and Mansour Bahrami.

"John and I have played at all the major tennis venues throughout the world, but never anywhere as special as Buckingham Palace," Borg said.

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No respect: Chicago Tribune columnist Skip Bayless wants the New Jersey Nets, who have the first draft pick, to select Texas center Chris Mihm and keep him away from the Bulls, who draft fourth.

"Please, New Jersey, make Jerry Krause's mistake for him," Bayless said. "Please use the No. 1 pick on the most overrated player in this year's NBA draft. Chris Mihm's long-term impact will be as silent as the 'h' in his last name."

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Looking back: On this day in 1993, Wayne Gretzky's three-goal performance led the Kings to a 5-4 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Western Conference finals.

The Kings lost the Stanley Cup finals to Montreal in five games.

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Rockin' Rocket: Joe Falls of the Detroit News remembers the late Maurice "Rocket" Richard, who stood 5 feet 10 and weighed 170 pounds, as one of the toughest hockey players of his era.

"Bob Dill of the Rangers--the toughest guy on the team--took on Richard twice in one game," Falls wrote. "Richard knocked him out both times.

"After the game, Richard walked out the employees' entrance in Madison Square Garden and saw Dill standing across the street. He went over and invited him out to dinner. 'Thanks,' Dill said, 'but I'll pass. My jaw still hurts.' "

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Attention shoppers: Gary Shelton of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, on the pursuit of sports memorabilia:

"Over the past couple of years you have been able to bid on--and this is not a joke--Ty Cobb's artificial teeth, Bill Veeck's artificial leg [mercifully withdrawn after protests], Mickey Mantle's passport, pieces of Thurman Munson's crashed plane, Joe DiMaggio's driver's license and the winner's trophy from the 1961 Kentucky Derby.

"There will be a brief pause while you ponder what this society has become."

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And finally: Baltimore Oriole Coach Elrod Hendricks, who played with Frank Robinson in Baltimore, finds it ironic his former teammate is now handing out discipline for fighting.

"There was never a brawl he wasn't in the middle of as a player or a coach," Hendricks told Washington Post columnist Tom Boswell. "As a coach, he threw as many haymakers as any player. Break 'em up? Hell, no . . . I can hear him now in his playing days. 'You blankety- blank [coaches] better come out here to protect us after the money we put in your pockets.' "

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