SBD/29/Sports Media

HAKEEM'S BAD BACK LEAVES SHAQ PLAYING ONE-ON-NONE

     "The much ballyhooed Taco Bell One-on-One Championship will
fall apart like a soggy tortilla at a news conference today when
Hakeem Olajuwon announces he is withdrawing from the showdown
with Shaquille O'Neal due to a back injury," according to Fran
Blinebury in this morning's HOUSTON CHRONICLE.  Olajuwon hurt his
back last week in London while playing on a promotional tour for
the NBA, but the decision to cancel was not made until last night
when it was clear the injury was not responding to treatment.
The event, with $1M in prize money on the line, was scheduled to
take place at Trump Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City and be
shown on pay-per-view.  Olajuwon, who participated in an
afternoon media event in New York and several national conference
calls yesterday:  "I'm extremely disappointed.  I was looking
forward to the challenge.  I thought it would be fun."  One
source:  "He feels embarrassed after all the talk and the build-
up."  There were two preliminary matches scheduled -- Nick Van
Exel vs. Kenny Anderson and Joe Smith vs. Kevin Garnett -- but
the CHRONICLE's Blinebury reports, "With Olajuwon injured, Taco
Bell is now expected to cancel the whole enchilada" (HOUSTON
CHRONICLE, 9/29).  Taco Bell had taken a full-page ad in USA
TODAY this morning.
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