Only one MagicJud Heathcote, who coached Magic Johnson at...

Off the beat JXB

November 12, 1991

Only one Magic

Jud Heathcote, who coached Magic Johnson at Michigan State, asked journalists yesterday not to use the nickname of "Magic" for Michigan's star wide receiver, Desmond Howard.

"Maybe this is personal and maybe it's a negative to the media, and maybe I'm selfish in this matter, but I say there's only one Magic Johnson. As far as I'm concerned, in the state of Michigan, there should be only one Magic, period," he said.

Heathcote, who coached Johnson and the Spartans basketball team to the national title in 1979, said he resented hearing and seeing the nickname used for Howard.

"If you want a nickname for Desmond, give him 'Mr. Touchdown,' or 'Mes' because he mesmerizes the opposition or 'Our Hero' or anything you want, but please, if you guys would cooperate, don't refer to him as Magic. I got that off my chest."

Meanwhile, Charles Barkley plans to wear Johnson's number on his Philadelphia 76ers jersey this season as a tribute to his friend.

"It's just something I want to do," Barkley said during practice yesterday. "Earvin's doing well, and hopefully . . . It's just something I'm doing for my friend."

Barkley said he wants to switch his number from 34 to 32 to honor Johnson.

The quote

Bubby Brister, on his desire to be traded if Neil O'Donnell remains the Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback: "I'm not going to be a backup quarterback. If I can't start, I'm out of here. I'm going hunting and fishing. I know I can start."

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