O'Neal is pounding more than boards

Phil Jackman

July 07, 1992|By Phil Jackman

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Disquieting note from a coach whose team played against Shaquille O'Neal and LSU a couple of times: "He's 40 or 50 pounds overweight. He can't jump at that weight [300] and he doesn't have any stamina right now. He has to take two steps before he can get off the floor. He doesn't do a lot of things offensively, always turning to his left and that's about it. Orlando's going to tie up millions in Shaq and it's not going to get nearly as much out of him as it thinks."

* A "manufacturing system" that started out with Ellen Wessel cutting through three layers of fabric on her dining room table in a one-bedroom apartment is celebrating its 15th anniversary as Moving Comfort, providers of quality clothing for women runners, walkers and cross trainers.

Wessel not only cut the material and prepared the patterns, she and partner Elizabeth Goeke also ran-tested the product in heat, humidity, rain and snow, pursued the dream through bankruptcy to the point where her Moving Comfort gear is now carried in 1,500 outlets throughout North America.

* Any owner who would get on national television during the Kentucky Derby and make fun of his team (Los Angeles Kings) and players, as Bruce McNall did, should not have been elevated to chairman of the board of governors by his peers. Then again, the NHL has never been one to act in predictable fashion.

* Devotees of baseball on basic cable (the Braves, Mets, Cubs, etc.) should keep tabs on H.R. 4511, The Copyright Broadcast Retransmission Licensing Act of 1992, which recently sailed through the House Judiciary subcommittee. If the so-called "superstation phaseout bill" becomes law, it's likely games on basic cable will become extinct and the teams will continue to pay those ridiculous seven-figure salaries to pinch runners while wondering why they can't make ends meet.

* When they were pups, U.S. Open champion Tom Kite and Western Open victor Ben Crenshaw were teammates and co-champions of the NCAA while playing for the University of Texas. Before that, they attended rival high schools in Austin and each won a state amateur title. Presently, they rank first and eighth on the all-time PGA career money list.

* Not surprisingly, there has been nary a peep following news that a ridiculously overpriced six-player tennis exhibition scheduled for Washington in mid-September is apt to be a one-shot deal. Tentatively, Gabriela Sabatini and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario and four far lesser lights are slated to contend for the $125,000 first prize ($27,500 guaranteed). Beside the lousy date, sponsors are streaking for cover and, traditionally, exhibitions are a drag.

* Add tennis: Since the All England Club opened, about the time William the Conqueror was born, only one Wimbledon winner has been denied membership into the club immediately, as is tradition. Of course, it was John McEnroe, who somehow has become sort of a cult hero around old S.W. 19 these days.

* Friday will mark the first anniversary of the festivities in Indianapolis that led to Mike Tyson catching a six-year jail term for rape. To mark the occasion a "Justice for Mike Tyson" rally is in the works and, reportedly, at least 5,000 will attend, which bodes well for T-shirt sales.

* Deion Sanders' contract is up with the Atlanta Braves at the end of the month, and the way Neon's going, general manager John Schuerholz is attempting to get a multi-year contract signed at $2 million per. Meanwhile, Atlanta has gone mad for the Falcons, just about selling out the new 71,000-seat stadium, and Prime Time's not likely to pass up that excitement.

* A couple of weeks ago, when the Bullets selected Tom Gugliotta of North Carolina State as the sixth pick in the NBA draft, great cries of anguish went up among the fans in attendance at the Capital Centre. It must be a ritual throughout the league. Stories in out-of-town newspapers detail how the same thing happened in Denver (LaPhonso Ellis), Atlanta (Adam Keefe), Milwaukee (Todd Day) and a couple more towns.

* Ex-Westminster standout Steve Kartalia finished a highly creditable sixth in the famed Peachtree Road Race in Atlanta on the Fourth of July, covering the 10K distance in 28:41, about 45 seconds behind winner Sammy Lelei of Kenya.

* During Tournament of the Americas play in Portland, Ore., Charles Barkley, brass section of the Dream Team, spent his off-hours collecting items from his teammates for a miniature museum he plans on setting up in a den back home. Darn, everybody's getting into the act.

* Lest Bjorn Borg make a good showing and win some serious money at the NationsBank Tennis Classic at the Rock Creek Tennis Stadium in Washington next week . . . an ex-wife, singer Loredana Berte of Italy, is seeking $30,000 a month alimony, charging he torched her career.

* Upon breaking Rollie Fingers' all-time record for saves, Jeff Reardon of the Red Sox very graciously conceded, "Rollie was the best. He's always going to be the best, no matter what I do." When Jeff was a kid growing up in Massachusetts, he no doubt watched a guy who would have made Fingers look like a batting practice flinger, Dick "The Monster" Radatz.

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