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The Inside Track | MORNING BRIEFING

Uniformity Won't Grab NBA Fans' Attention

November 07, 2001|Thomas Bonk

In Seattle, the SuperSonics are serious about drumming up more fan interest in the team, so they began the usual way--by changing the uniforms. Yeah, that always makes a team play better.

But the SuperSonics are taking it even further. Key Arena is going to be one, big fan-friendly place this season. The SuperSonics will have personal giveaways from players and autograph signings at certain games, they are discounting concessions for an hour before the game, letting fans sit courtside during pregame warmups and allowing kids under 16 to shoot free throws after the games.

But why stop there?

Why not pick a guest coach from out of the stands (players never listen to coaches anyway), broadcast the locker room halftime talks on the scoreboard video screen and let the fans with the most expensive tickets get into the layup lines. They could call it "Fandemonium."

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Trivia time: How many basketball coaches did UCLA have in Pete Dalis' tenure as athletic director?

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Spin doctor: Phil de Picciotto, the agent representing tennis glamour queen Anna Kournikova: "[She is] so highly visible in other areas that people tend to overlook her tennis achievements."

Note to Phil: It's actually not too hard to overlook such tennis achievements as zero tournament victories.

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Diet doctor: Denver Bronco wide receiver Rod Smith says he eats a bag of popcorn every day. He even endorses his own brand, Hot Rod's Poppin Popcorn.

Says Smith: "Ain't nobody else buying it, so I might as well eat it."

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Hello, Wilson? Tom Hanks joined Dennis Miller, Al Michaels and Dan Fouts in the ABC booth during Monday night's game at Oakland between the Raiders and Broncos. That island probably started looking pretty good again.

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Hello, Patsy Cline? From the Chicago Sun-Times, in a story about major league baseball's owners considering contraction, an unnamed player rep was quoted as saying: "If they go to war now, after a World Series like the one we just had, they're crazy."

And your point is what, exactly?

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Good idea: According to David Letterman, if the Diamondbacks had lost to the Yankees on Sunday night, Randy Johnson had already talked to Manager Bob Brenly and said he'd be willing to pitch in Game 8.

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Turnstile count: A study of the number of spectators at sporting events in the U.S. and Canada in 2000 by SportsBusiness Daily showed baseball had the most spectators, football was second, then basketball and hockey.

Tennis was No. 11, behind greyhound racing.

A couple of Kournikova victories and tennis might have jumped ahead of the racing dogs.

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Trivia answer: Four--Larry Farmer, Walt Hazzard, Jim Harrick and Steve Lavin.

And finally: A number of former pro athletes and celebrities, such as Frankie Avalon, Joe Montana, Robert Urich, Ed Marinaro, Dave Casper, Ted Hendricks, Marv Hubbard and Raymond Chester played in a golf tournament recently in the Bay Area.

Tournament promoter Joe Martin announced before play began that there would be no rules observed "because a lot of old Raiders are in the tournament."

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