When a coach talks about a tough road trip, he's not always
thinking about the vicissitudes of visiting hostile arenas.
Sometimes the players' after-hours schedule drains more energy
than the games do. Here are some of the nightspots in which
coaches worry that their players might have too much fun.
MAGIC CITY, Atlanta. A little club on the south side that
specializes in nude dancers and has been called the Hawks'
secret weapon. When an elite team loses in Atlanta, it's often
whispered that "the players must have been to Magic City." The
last time one Eastern Conference team visited Atlanta, the coach
told his guys, "I know you guys are going to want to go to Magic
City, but try to get your rest, too."
SCORES, New York. A topless dance club on Manhattan's East Side
particularly popular among athletes and entertainers. It would
probably take less time to list the players who haven't been
there than the ones who have. A visit by an athlete often finds
its way into the New York tabloids the next day, as Kenny
Anderson (then of the Nets) discovered in 1994, when he missed a
morning practice after being spotted at Scores the previous night.
THE FLATS, Cleveland. A section of the city known for its
nightspots, including The Basement, where Dream Team III members
Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller were when Barkley got into a
scuffle with a fan in July 1996. (The fan later sued Barkley
THE MEN'S CLUB, Houston. Another upscale topless establishment,
basically the Southwest version of Scores. "I once had a player
tell me the guys on the team were going to hold a postgame team
meeting at TMC," says an Eastern Conference coach. "I said,
'Having postgame meetings there is fine. It's the pregame
meetings I'm worried about.'"
COLOR PHOTO: GREG FOSTER BROWN SUGAR IS ONE OF MAGIC CITY'S ENTICEMENTS [Female dancer wearing top that reads "Quit staring at these"]