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Original Issue


Don't expect Michael Jordan to leave the Bulls as a free agent
after the season. "I can't see myself playing anywhere else,"
Jordan said recently. Especially since salary-cap limitations
make it impossible for any other team to pay him the $30 million
he's earning this season....Is Utah's 34-year-old point guard
John Stockton losing a step? In the last two weeks he has been
lit up by the Cavaliers' Terrell Brandon (33 points), the
Timberwolves' Stephon Marbury (33), the Clippers' Darrick Martin
(38) and the Spurs' Avery Johnson (22).... Pacers guard Reggie
Miller recently paid Nets rookie Kerry Kittles the highest
compliment he could think of: "He reminds me of myself." ...
Won't they ever learn? Magic fans made a fuss last year about
Shaquille O'Neal's fathering a child out of wedlock, and he
wound up bolting for the Lakers. Now they're clamoring on
call-in shows about Penny Hardaway's decision to rehabilitate
his injured knee in Houston instead of in Orlando. One Florida
columnist even dubbed Hardaway Captain Invisible. Considering
that Penny's a free agent after the 1997-98 season, that label
might be prophetic.... Ex-Mavericks guard Rolando Blackman took
in a game in Dallas last Saturday. Also there were former
teammates Mark Aguirre (now the Mavericks' director of player
development), Derek Harper (their starting point guard) and Brad
Davis (their radio color man). In various orders they constitute
the top four in franchise history for the following career
stats: points, assists, steals, games, minutes, turnovers and
fouls. The game was played, appropriately enough, in Reunion
Arena.... New Jersey coach John Calipari was incensed recently
when referee Hue Hollins accused Nets center Shawn Bradley of
using profanity. "He's a Mormon," Calipari shouted. "He doesn't
swear." Responded Hollins, "I'm a Baptist and I don't lie." ...
Warriors guard Latrell Sprewell is enjoying another splendid
season, averaging 24.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.8 assists. But
he's shooting just 43.4% from the floor, and there has been
grumbling in the locker room that he's firing away far too
often. Consider the accuracy of the five players who have
attempted more shots than Sprewell: Jordan (47.7%), Sacramento's
Mitch Richmond (45.5%), O'Neal (56.0%), Seattle's Gary Payton
(49.1%) and Utah's Karl Malone (51.9%).... The Rockets' Charles
Barkley was so heartbroken when the Buffalo Bills, his favorite
sports team, were eliminated from the NFL playoffs that he wore
a white piece of tape on the shoulder strap of his jersey for
that night's game.... When the Lakers received their shipment of
throwback uniforms for a game against Boston, they got 14
jerseys but only 11 sets of shorts. As a result, guard Rumeal
Robinson became the first player in NBA history to receive a
DNP-no shorts.... Clippers guard Brent Barry, the defending Slam
Dunk champ, says he'll skip the event this year. The likely heir
(or is it "air"?) to the throne? Either the Mavericks' Michael
Finley or the Lakers' Eddie Jones.... When the Bullets' Rod
Strickland saw how heavy Clippers center Kevin Duckworth had
become, he immediately grew concerned for Duckworth's renowned
pet collection. "I asked him if he was eating all his animals,"
Strickland said.

COLOR PHOTO: JOHN W. MCDONOUGH Whether he's hot or not, Golden State's Sprewell isn't shy about letting fly. [Latrell Sprewell]




While a student at McNeese State, Pistons guard Joe Dumars
developed an affinity for reading. Now 33, he is often found
poring over The Wall Street Journal as he lies on a training
table or devouring a best-seller during a plane ride. Here are
Dumars's five favorite books.

1 President Kennedy, by Richard Reeves
2 To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3 Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
4 Paris Trout, by Pete Dexter
5 Montana 1948, by Larry Watson