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ALL-STAR GAME NOTES

Brown, Hayes Say Players Get a Bad Rap

February 12, 2001|LONNIE WHITE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Philadelphia 76er Coach Larry Brown said he's not surprised by the type of effort given in Sunday's NBA All-Star game. He said he felt the players would play hard after he watched film of previous all-star contests.

"I watched some old clips . . . with [Bob] Pettit, [Bob] Cousy, Elgin [Baylor] and Bill Russell and I just thought, 'Wow, those teams are trying to win,' " said Brown, who coached the East to a come-from-behind 111-110 victory. "I sensed from the beginning of the weekend that this was going to be kind of a fun game because I felt our players wanted to prove something.

"There's been so much said about our young players not living up to the standards of the other players in the past, and I've been with two Dream Teams the last two summers. We've got a lot of great young players who are not only good kids but great guys."

Former NBA great Elvin Hayes, who coached the sophomore team in Saturday's Rookie Challenge, agreed with Brown. He said today's young players are getting a bad rap.

"They love and enjoy the game of basketball," Hayes said. "I don't think there's one kid today who is playing the game who doesn't have the love which I had for it and any other player that played it.

"But because of overexposure, every kid goes out there looking to make that newsreel, to make that, 'Hey, I'm going to be on this play of the week.' That comes from a lot of immaturity. I don't think they have gotten to that level where they feel that they need to be mature."

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The Lakers' Kobe Bryant was in a good mood despite his West team's one-point loss. Bryant answered question after question from reporters and when it came time for him to step away from the podium, he looked surprised.

"What, no Shaq [Shaquille O'Neal] questions?" Bryant asked. "Great!"

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With Sunday's game being broadcast in 210 countries, the Milwaukee Bucks' Ray Allen said fans got a great game to watch.

"I think anybody in any demographic in the United States, or in the world for that matter . . . enjoyed the game," Allen said. "They saw people having a great time."

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Utah Jazz power forward Karl Malone played only four minutes and did not score, but didn't seem bothered by his lack of playing time.

"I'm very happy with it," said Malone, who participated in his 13th All-Star game. "I don't think I have to prove if I can play or not. I've only played 40-thousand something minutes."

Malone's best moment came at halftime when the league honored most valuable players of previous games. Standing next to Utah teammate John Stockton, Malone took the moment to talk to his old friend.

"I was telling him I don't know if he knows how much I love him," Malone said about Stockton, his teammate for the last 16 seasons. "I know it's probably corny, but that's what I told him."

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The Seattle SuperSonics' Desmond Mason, who won Saturday's slam-dunk contest, played his college ball at Oklahoma State and dedicated his victory to the 10 people who died in a plane crash two weeks ago.

"That situation has really been rough for me to deal with," said Mason, who left the SuperSonics for a short time after the crash. "I had the opportunity to go down and actually spend some time with the families. . . . One of my best friends was on the plane, and I never had the opportunity to meet his mom and it was bad that I had to meet her that way. But it put some closure on the situation for everybody."

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