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We Think We Have Room on Our Team

Morning Briefing

April 14, 2001|MAL FLORENCE

Skip Bayless of the Chicago Tribune, speculating on Michael Jordan's playing again in the NBA:

"If the answer is yes, let Jordan do what makes him happiest. For all his refuse-to-lose pride, he gladly humiliated himself as a baseball player and golfer.

"In the last few months, he often showed up at downtown Chicago fitness clubs and jumped into pickup games with lawyers and stockbrokers. This would be like Jack Nicklaus wandering up to the first tee at your local course and saying, 'Can I join you guys?' "

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More Jordan: Lyle Spencer of the Riverside Press-Enterprise speculates on Jordan's becoming a Laker, reuniting with Phil Jackson and joining Shaquille O'Neal and Chris Webber. In this scenario, Kobe Bryant would be traded, along with Robert Horry, to Sacramento for free-agent-to-be Webber.

"Kobe has too much talent, energy and ambition to play in shackles, standing outside watching bulldozer Shaq in the power game Jackson favors," Spencer writes.

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Trivia time: Who are the only Lakers to have led the NBA in scoring during the regular season?

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Calorie cutting: Jerry Greene in the Orlando Sentinel: "According to the New York Post, our friends at Sports Illustrated are having it worse than those clowns on 'Survivor.' In a cost-saving measure, the SI food budget on deadline nights has been reduced from 14 pizza pies to a mere nine.

"Wait, it gets much worse. Seven-course dinners for editors are down to four courses by cutting out the soup, fruit salad and dessert.

"And here's the clincher--on Thursday mornings, the sweet rolls and bagels are gone. Those poor guys won't have the strength to put out the next swimsuit issue."

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More Greene: "When I'm commissioner of baseball, Mark Grudzielanek changes his name to Mike Grud."

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A bigger club: Former Atlanta Brave infielder Ozzie Guillen, who was released by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays this spring:

"Venezuela had 3 million people without jobs. Now they've got 3,000,001."

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Lost cause: Orlando Magic Coach Doc Rivers, on what popped into his mind as he watched Phil Mickelson and David Duval futilely chase Tiger Woods on the final day at the Masters:

"There goes Karl Malone and Patrick Ewing, trying to win a title during the Jordan era."

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Since when? Georgia Tech Coach George O'Leary, commenting at the close of spring football practice:

"I put a lot of emphasis on making sure we have good chemistry. I think football is about 60% mental and 40% physical."

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Looking back: On this day in 1962, Elgin Baylor scored 61 points, a club playoff record, in leading the Lakers to a 126-121 victory over the Boston Celtics in the fifth game of the NBA final series. Boston won the series in seven games.

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Trivia answer: Jerry West, 31.2-point average in 1969-70, and Shaquille O'Neal, 29.7, last year. Note: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the NBA in scoring while with the Milwaukee Bucks, but not as a Laker.

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And finally: Lefty Gomez, the former great New York Yankee pitcher, was a notoriously poor hitter. Yet he longed to be a great slugger.

One time, after advancing to the plate, he adjusted his cap, tugged at his belt and did all the things a good hitter would, including swinging his bat to knock mud from his spikes.

Unfortunately, he smashed himself in the ankle and spent the next three days in the hospital.

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