SBJ/December 20 - 26, 1999/No Topic Name

NBA viewers haven’t heard the last of Charles Barkley

When the career of that round mound of the profound, Charles Barkley, ended because of a knee injury, the saddest to see him go were the media. For them Sir Charles was a walking, running, dribbling quote machine. Once, when he heard that Tonya Harding had labeled herself "the Charles Barkley of figure skating," he retorted, "I was going to sue her for defamation of character, but then I realized I had no character." His gift of gab is already up for grabs, with NBC and TNT/TBS vying for his services as NBA analyst and color commentator. Some sources say he could even wind up working for both nets.

DOUBLE TAKE: When the Minnesota Twins announced plans to bestow lifetime season passes on the first set of twins born in the year 2000 at any of seven Minnesota hospitals, New York Daily News baseball writer Bill Madden had a problem. "Will those tickets still be good in Charlotte or northern Virginia, which is where the Twins may be playing when these fans are old enough to be real fans?"

WHEN UNDERDOGS BECOME OVERDOGS: With its TV contract with CBS due to run out next year, the Big East could be in a boss position at the bargaining table — if Virginia Tech can beat Florida State and join UConn hoops as national champions. And, although they're 6-point 'dogs to the Seminoles, many, including this writer, are picking the Hokies and Michael Vick to shed their underdog collar and win it straight up.

MASTERS OF ALL THEY SURVEY? In the face of charges of outright corruption, the International Olympic Committee has conducted its own public opinion poll, and — guess what — the results are rosy. According to the IOC, its image has been largely unaffected by the exposure of dirty linen: Respondents had a higher opinion of the Games than they did a year ago, and they ranked the organization a worthier entity than either the International Red Cross or UNICEF. No word on whether the IOC was seen as 56/100 percent purer than Ivory Soap.

LINE OF THE WEEK: In the wake of the suspension of Chicago Bears QB Jim Miller for taking a nutritional supplement that included an ingredient banned by the league, Bears' center Olin Kreutz was still shaking his head in disbelief: "There are guys all over the league laughing their [butts] off at the idea of a quarterback on steroids."

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