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THE WRITING ON (AND OFF) THE WALL: ESPYS IN VEGAS PERFECT FIT.



Byline: Tom Hoffarth

LAS VEGAS -- The videoscreens outside thE MGM MGM
 in full Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Inc.

U.S. corporation and film studio. It was formed when the film distributor Marcus Loew, who bought Metro Pictures in 1920, merged it with the Goldwyn production company in 1924 and with Louis B. Mayer Pictures in 1925.
 Grand are selling tonight's ESPY Awards as "the greatest night in sports." For sure, it's an event that attracts the greatest gathering of superstar athletes in one place.

Why?

Mike Piazza, in town anyway to show off in a home-run-hitting contest with McGwire, Canseco, Palmiero, ARod and Dodgers newcomer Shawn Green, didn't need any coaxing to stay an extra night to attend the ESPYs, where he'll be hanging out with new Mets teammate Todd Zeile.

"All they had to tell me was be in Vegas VEGAS Vocational and Educational Guidance for Aboriginals Scheme (Australia) ," said Piazza.

"I said I'd do it."

It's not for the "boy-lesque" shows.

At least Piazza says what the others probably don't want to -- that the city is the real star attraction. And when you've got Monopoly money coming out of your billfold, any excuse to come to the Nevada desert is valid.

Which is why the MLBPA MLBPA Major League Baseball Player's Association , not Major League Baseball "MLB" and "Major Leagues" redirect here. For other uses, see MLB (disambiguation) and Major Leagues (disambiguation).
Major League Baseball (MLB) is the highest level of play in North American professional baseball.
, sponsored the home run event (to be aired next month on ESPN ESPN Entertainment and Sports Programming Network 2). MLB MLB Major League Baseball
MLB Minor League Baseball
MLB Middle Linebacker (football)
MLB Motor Life Boat
MLB Matt Leblanc (actor)
MLB Mother Love Bone (band) 
 can't gamble on its reputation.

And it's why ESPN, which held the first seven of these behind the barbed wire of New York, has moved it right across the street from the New York, New York Hotel & Casino on da Strip. . . .

--For those who can't stomach another ego-gratifyin', tux-rentin' statue-cradlin' awards presentation, you'll miss such cut-up skits as Dickie V opening the show as an Elvis impersonator and Kurt Bevacqua being honored by Dan Patrick as the century's 29,104th-greatest athlete, with testimonials from George Will, Bob Costas and Joe Garagiola. . . .

--ESPY celeb ce·leb  
n. Informal
A celebrity.
 host Jimmy Smits won't be killed off, a la Bobby Simone, during the course of the telecast. He may only wish. . . .

--Smits plays the role of a trainer in "Price of Glory," the next boxing movie to elbow for attention this spring. Carlos Palomino Palomino

Colour type of horse distinguished by its cream, yellow, or gold coat and a white or silver mane. It is popular in pleasure and parade classes. Palominos may conform to the breed types of several light breeds, including the Arabian horse and the American Quarter Horse.
 is the flick's technical advisor and Smits did research on his character by attending Silver Gloves bouts around L.A. . . .

--Smits says he recently received his Lakers season tickets, which will "finally legitimize me as a Los Angeles resident."

Don't go celeb scoping for him in Nicholson's neighborhood. "My seats are in the citizens' section," he said. . . .

--Couldn't help but notice under those blazin' Staple Center heat lamps that Coo-coo Jack was back to being slurped like a courtside snowcone by Lara F. Boyle during the two Lakers games last week. The tabs had reported a recent messy breakup -- Nicholson supposedly went gonzo upon finding out the fledgling actress returned all his Christmas gifts for cash. . . .

--Billy Crystal wants to direct a movie called "Home Run Race '61," an HBO Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBO)
A form of oxygen therapy in which the patient breathes oxygen in a pressurized chamber.

Mentioned in: Ozone Therapy
 project about the friendship between Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle during the 1961 season, reports Daily Variety. . . .

--Pretend pro beach volleyball star Gabby Reece has committed to remodeling -- she will train for a year to see if she can become a pro golfer. . . .

--Latest MGM odds on the Cincinnati Reds winning the 2000 World Series just dropped from 20 to 1 to a Griffey-inspired 12 to 1. The Dodgers, who opened at 30 to 1 in October, are now 18 to 1. . . .

SURFING THE TUBE

TODAY

With the NBA NBA
abbr.
1. National Basketball Association

2. National Boxing Association

NBA (US) n abbr (= National Basketball Association) → Basketball-Dachverband (=
 trade deadline near, the Clippers have sent scouts to New York. Not to look at the Knicks. The thought is that there has to be a few prized nuts at Madison Square Garden Coordinates:

Current arenas in the National Hockey League

Western Conference Eastern Conference
 willing to sign for the league minimum. 124th annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is a two-day benched conformation show that takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York City every year. Dog owners from around the world come to show their dogs. Dogs are judged closely by eminent American Kennel Club (AKC) judges. , USA Network, 8 p.m. (Also Tuesday at 8 p.m.)

TUESDAY

It's reunion week for the Lakers, who start a telling six-game road trip right after the All-Star break. Today, Phil Jackson returns to Chicago. Wednesday, Hornets' Eddie Jones finally plays against his former teammates. Friday, Shaq is back at Disney World, and Sunday, Kobe has a homecoming in Philly. NBA: Lakers at Chicago, Channel 9, TNT TNT: see trinitrotoluene.
TNT
 in full trinitrotoluene

Pale yellow, solid organic compound made by adding nitrate (−NO2) groups to toluene.
, 5 p.m. (Also: KCAL has 1 1/2-hour tape delay of the Lakers' games at Charlotte on Wednesday and Orlando on Friday, both at 6 p.m., and NBC NBC
 in full National Broadcasting Co.

Major U.S. commercial broadcasting company. It was formed in 1926 by RCA Corp., General Electric Co. (GE), and Westinghouse and was the first U.S. company to operate a broadcast network.
 has their game at Philadelphia Sunday at 2:30 p.m.

WEDNESDAY

To understand what happened to former New York Knicks guard Micheal Ray Richardson Micheal "Sugar" Ray Richardson (born April 11 1955, in Lubbock, Texas) is an American former professional basketball player and currently head coach of the Oklahoma City Cavalry of the Continental Basketball Association.  (pictured), it's best to first know who he was, kids. A three-time All-Big Sky player at the University of Montana, he was drafted No. 4 overall by the Knicks in 1978 and touted as the next Walt Frazier. They kept him four seasons. Golden State had him for half a season. The New Jersey Nets had him another three, until this four-time NBA All-Star career's crashed and burned - he became the first slapped with a lifetime ban in 1986 for drug use. An hourlong TNT documentary narrated by Chris Rock fills in the details over the last 14 years. Here's a hint that there's a nice ending: The show is produced by NBA Entertainment. ``Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray?'' TNT, 10 p.m. (replays at 1 a.m. and Friday at 1:30 a.m.)

THURSDAY

Is it too late? NCAA basketball: USC An abbreviation for U.S. Code.  at Arizona, FSN, 7:30 p.m.

FRIDAY

Why the U.S. isn't represented in the America's Cup for the first time ever: We sent Clipper ships to the semis. America's Cup best-of-nine final, Race 1, ESPN, 7 p.m. (Also: Race 2 Saturday at 7 p.m.)

SATURDAY

It is too late, isn't it? NCAA basketball: UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX
 at Arizona, Channel 7, 12:30 p.m.

SUNDAY

Getting back to that Westminster Kennel Club again - remember the name of the family dog on ``The Brady Bunch''? PGA (1) (Professional Graphics Adapter) An early IBM PC display standard for 3D processing with 640x480x256 resolution. It was not widely used.

(2) (Programmable Gate Array) See gate array and FPGA.
: Nissan Open golf tournament, final round, Channel 2, noon. (CBS also has third-round coverage live at noon Saturday as well as first- and second-round late-night highlight shows at 12:35 a.m. Thusday and Friday. USA Network has tape-delayed coverage of the first two rounds Thursday and Friday at 4 p.m.)

TOP SHELF

WHEN THE GLORIOUS END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS

--Book title: ``It Ain't Over 'Til The Fat Lady Sings It ain't over 'til the fat lady sings is a proverb, essentially meaning that one shouldn't assume the outcome of some activity (frequently a sports game) until it has actually finished. : The 100 Greatest Sports Finishes of All Time''

--Author: Howard G. Peretz (with event text by Phil Berger)

--Find it: Barnes & Noble Books, $14.98, 224 pages, also available at www.fatladysings.com.

--I did not know that: Peretz actually owns the ``Fat Lady Sings'' phrase as a registered trademark.

--The game plan: Peretz writes that his initial research into this project was fruitless - he found hardly any material. Sounds preposterious. So in starting his own, he pegged 176 events, then cut them down to 100 by a criteria he devised and explains in the opening chapter. For example, the book does include the 1980 Miracle on Ice The "Miracle on Ice" is the popular nickname for the men's ice hockey game in the 1980 Olympic Winter Games, in which a team of amateur and collegiate players from the United States beat the long-dominant and heavily-favored Soviet Union, in a match held on February 22, 1980, at , but it excludes the New York Jets' Super Bowl win over Baltimore because, while it might have been an upset, the outcome was not continually in doubt.

--The execution: Great to the last page. Peretz sorts the events into categories rather than create controversy by ranking them as others would do. Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series homer for the Dodgers is one of 10 events in Chapter 1: ``Victories Snatched From the Jaws of Defeat,'' as is Magic Johnson's 1980 NBA Finals Game 6 performance for the Lakers. UCLA's 88-game basketball streak snapped by Notre Dame in 1974 is in Chapter 2: ``Buzzer Beaters.'' Chapter 4's ``Comebacks'' has the Angels' loss to Boston in the 1986 ALCS ALCS American League Championship Series (baseball)
ALCS Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (UK)
ALCS Airborne Launch Control System
 Game 5 along with ``The Drive'' by Denver's John Elway in the 1987 AFC title game. But Chapter 8's ``Fluke Finishes'' might be the most enjoyable read, uncovering several events that seem to have slipped through the cracks of history and aren't often revisited.

Peretz indicates there will be a follow-up book, so you gotta believe Tiger Woods' finish at Pebble Beach and Super Bowl XXXIV Super Bowl XXXIV was the 34th championship game of the modern National Football League (NFL). The game was played on January 30, 2000, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, following the 1999 regular season.  will be given strong consideration for Year 2000 events and beyond.

--Bathroom reading rating (on the scale of 1 to 10): 8 (coulda been more, but the darn book is so big and bulky, it's not easy to handle).

- Tom Hoffarth

CYBERSPORT

IN A RUSH TO DUNK, THE MUSTARD'S OFF THE DOG

Maybe you've seen the logo tacked onto telephone poles around town - a circle divided into four, with a peace sign, heart, lightning bolt and another circle.

It's the brand for a site known as dunk.net, but beyond that, we're not really sure what it has to offer, why it exists, or what's the point.

Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Piazza and Rebecca Lobo seem to be associated somehow, but who knows in what capacity?

The ``What's Dunk'' link offers a meager explanation: This site ``empowers athletes to gain the highest level of achievement by providing them with apparel and footwear that blends style with the latest in high-performance technology,'' which leads to the creation of a ``Dunk culture.''

(By the way, when was the last time you saw Piazza rattle the rim?)

Apparently, it's a store. But click onto the store link to see what empowering footware is available, and it says it's ``coming soon.''

Which should be a lesson to those thinking about getting in the Web business: Isn't it better to launch a site when it's ready rather than start advertising it when it's barely half completed? Who's ever going back?

--Another star-athlete-affected site that's been getting plenty of publicity lately is an online auction destination called Ultimatebid.com. Here, winning bidders get such things as a day at spring training and dinner with Derek Jeter or a round of golf at Bay Hill Country Club with Arnold Palmer. Expect the bidding to reach at least $4,000 on each. Bids on hanging out with SI swimsuit model Heidi Klum for a day in New York already is past $6,000.

--If a round of golf at Riviera Country Club The Riviera Country Club is a country club with a championship golf course. It is located in Pacific Palisades, California, within the city limits of Los Angeles, California. The country club opened in 1926, with George C. Thomas, Jr. as the course architect.  sounds more appealing in either the pro-am ($3,750 a person) or celebrity-am ($1,875) this week leading up to the Nissan Open, they seem to be available on the tournament's official site (nissanopen.com).

Also keep bookmarked the PGA Tour's official site (PGATour.com) for real-time scores during the tournament starting Thursday. TV coverage the first two days is on tape-delay.

--The NHL NHL Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, see there  today is expected to announce that it will buy out Internet partner IBM for nearly $10 million and begin to take its official site (nhl.com) in-house so it can have more of a hands-on control over its future, which will someday expand to more live video feed and broadcasting games over the Web.

- Tom Hoffarth

CAPTION(S):

photo, box

Photo: Ex-NBA star Micheal Ray Richardson

Box: TV today
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Feb 14, 2000
Words:1754
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Next Article:BRUINS BLOW OPPORTUNITY FOR UPSET SYRACUSE HOLDS ON TO BEAT UCLA SYRACUSE 71, UCLA 67.



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