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SPOTLIGHT

That's a Real Role Model

June 08, 2002|Jerry Crowe, Valerie Gutierrez, Larry Stewart

As smooth and polished as a politician, he has movie-star looks.

On another team, in another place, Laker forward Rick Fox might be the center of attention, the hawker of hamburgers, seller of soda.

As a teammate of Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant, he's a bit player.

How does he do it? How does he subjugate his ego?

"With an understanding that I wouldn't be here without them," Fox said. "An understanding that I wouldn't have two [championship rings], working on a third, without those two. An understanding that their games are much better than the rest of ours.

"You take the time to appreciate the opportunity to play with them and to realize your role. That's the difference in our success, I think. The supporting cast is not caught up in [believing] that we should share in the success or we should share in any glamour or endorsements or commercials. That's not really for us. We have a smaller role on this team, to keep this thing tied together, and we do it.

"Day in and day out, I'm gracious to know it's because of Shaq and Kobe that I can continue this situation. That's something a lot of people don't know how to do--be humble and just keep your mouth shut and play."

Jerry Crowe

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Just As Long as He Wears No. 8 on the Court

Bryant continues to make fashion statements with his choice of off-court attire.

Friday, he arrived at Staples Center wearing a Jackie Robinson jersey. He also has appeared wearing the jerseys of Pedro Martinez, Joe Namath, Hank Aaron, Joe Montana and Jerry West.

Bryant said his selection of the Montana jersey for Game 7 of the Western Conference finals against Sacramento was out of respect for the quarterback's penchant for engineering come-from-behind victories.

Beyond that, he claims there is no pattern to his selections.

"You mean is there a method to my madness?" Bryant told NBA.com Thursday. "No, not really."

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$450 Seems Like a Lot to Pay for a Nosebleed

Tickets for the playoffs this week were selling through brokers for as much as $10,000 a seat.

That was way too much for Raymond Murillo, 19, who instead saved two weeks' salary--and got a little help from his brother Joey--to be able to sit in the farthest reaches of Staples Center. His back was to the wall, but he didn't mind paying $450 to see the Lakers on Friday with his girlfriend, Nellie Roth.

"I didn't care," said Murillo, 19, a student at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. "I just wanted to be in the building."

A few seats away, several naval personnel, including Arthur Torrez from the USS Belleau Wood, paid $90 for seats with an obstructed view of the court.

Torrez will be deployed to active duty in a few months and said being at the game will be a nice memory to take with him.

"We can't really see the game, but we can feel the excitement," he said.

Valerie Gutierrez

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No Comment Yet From Michael Jordan

Ahmad Rashad's last appearance on NBC will be Sunday. He interviewed O'Neal and Bryant after practice Thursday for a feature that will run on the 5 p.m. pregame show before Game 3.

"After 20 years [with NBC], that will be that," Rashad said Friday night.

Rashad also works for NBA Entertainment as the executive producer and host of "NBA Inside Stuff." He is committed to that show, which is headed for ABC under the new contract for next season.

Rashad and NBC did not have a real amicable parting.

With Bob Costas being brought in to serve as the host of the pregame show during the Finals, Hannah Storm and Rashad, who had been co-hosting the show, were asked to co-host the postgame show carried by CNBC.

While Storm accepted, Rashad declined that assignment.

"Let's just say they didn't offer me anything on the network," Rashad said.

Larry Stewart

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