Five places where you might get a glimpse of road-tripping NBA
1. THE NIKE EMPLOYEE STORE, Beaverton, Ore. Here you can see
millionaire NBA players scoop up Nike gear at wholesale prices
(generally 50% off). One tip: Don't even think about stopping by
just before Christmas. A holiday limit was put on sales to NBA
players after visiting teams cleaned the shelves last year.
2. AUNT KIZZY'S BACK PORCH, Marina Del Rey, Calif. NBA players
are regulars at this Southern-cooking establishment (left) six
miles from the Great Western Forum. "It's all by word of mouth.
We don't advertise," says owner Adolf Dulan. Hungry players can
feast on fried chicken and catfish, baked short ribs, smothered
pork chops, macaroni-and-cheese and an assortment of
Southern-style vegetables. In addition, Aunt Kizzy's caters to
the charters of the visiting teams before they depart LAX.
3. BOYDS, Philadelphia. A vice president of this men's store,
Kent Gushner, can tell you, for instance, that Lakers swingman
Eddie Jones, who as a collegian played at nearby Temple, is fond
of Canali suits. "I think the only coach who hasn't been in here
is Pat Riley," says store manager Jeff Glass.
4. COCONUT GROVE, Fla. Maybe the bevy of beautiful people and
restaurants in this enclave south of Miami so distracted
visiting teams that it was the real reason for the Heat's
franchise-record 29 wins at home last season. The Italian
restaurant Paulo Luigi's, a big NBA favorite, is down the street
from the Mayfair House hotel, where eight teams stay.
5. FRIEDMAN'S SHOES, Atlanta. Dikembe Mutombo (size 22) made a
wise move when he joined the Hawks. Friedman's can fit any NBA
foot: It keeps 80,000 pairs of shoes in stock, in sizes ranging
up to 22EEE.
--KELVIN C. BIAS
COLOR PHOTO: DARRELL MIHO [Food on table at Aunt Kizzy's Back Porch]