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The Sports Section

Bill James, a longtime source of information for this column, sometimes refers to what he calls athletic intelligence. Like any form of intelligence, it is the ability to process information, only with the added physical dimension of sport. Exceptional athletic intelligence is what separates Frank Thomas from other young sluggers and Greg Maddux from pitchers […]

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The Sports Section

Charles Barkley called it “the greatest basketball game I ever played in.” Let it reflect on Barkley that it was an awkward, ugly, scrapping battle, the sort that routinely results when two teams are not given adequate time to travel long distances between games in the National Basketball Association finals–the sort, also, it should be […]

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The Sports Section

“There are two elements of the game,” said Pat Riley, head coach of the New York Knicks, after the third game of the Eastern Conference finals against the Bulls. “There’s the game of basketball and the primal game, and you’ve got to be able to deal with both of them. So the team that plays […]

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The Sports Section

Lenny Wilkens, head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers, stepped to the podium, sat down in front of the microphones, and looked around at the assembled members of the media. With that ever-startling New York accent of his–part gym rat, part Billy Crystal–he said, “I’m glad all of you showed up.” He then began to try […]

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The Sports Section

With six seconds to play in the first quarter of the Bulls’ first playoff game against Atlanta, Will Perdue pulled down a rebound under the Hawks’ basket and dribbled a couple of steps into the open. He then passed ahead to John Paxson near the center line. Paxson must have checked the time when Perdue […]

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The Sports Section

Ryne Sandberg, rehabilitating a broken wrist suffered in spring training, is hitting baseballs off a tee into a net behind home plate. Mark Grace is standing at the batting cage with his Killer Loop sunglasses perched atop the bill of his cap, in the manner of a Hollywood agent or Moses Malone shooting free throws. […]

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The Sports Section

This is a critical season for baseball. We refer not merely to our local favorites–it’s always a critical season for the Cubs and White Sox–but to the sport itself. We hear from all circles that the sport is in crisis. There are books, newspaper and magazine articles, television shows, and even congressional hearings on the […]

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The Sports Section

Rashard Griffith has a regal bearing on the basketball court. He stands seven feet one inch tall, with muscular arms and shoulders and a firm chin, which he holds high. In a high school basketball game he seems the one person on the floor with a set purpose, a sense of what it is he […]

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The Sports Section

This Bulls’ season has been much more of an odyssey than were the last two campaigns. For the most part they were smooth sailing, aside from some turbulence during last year’s playoffs, of course. This season, though, the Bulls have worked their way through a series of tasks and tests. At times, the 82-game season […]

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The Sports Section

The All-Star break almost two-thirds of the way through the National Basketball Association’s regular season couldn’t have come soon enough for the Bulls, who have approached this entire “three-peat” thing as the most odious of tasks. It’s been as if they meant to twiddle their thumbs until the break passed and it became time to […]

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The Sports Section

These Lifestep machines are a waste of time. The Stairmasters are harder, better for your ass they say, and if there’s one place I need work, well, it’s the stomach, but the ass is a close second. Why do they have the Stairmasters at the other place and not here? Might as well do 24 […]

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The Sports Section

A funny thing happened before last Friday’s game between Bulls and the Hornets at the Chicago Stadium. During the introductions, not only was the Hornets’ Kendall Gill cheered by the Stadium faithful–an expected occurrence, as Gill was a high school star at south-suburban Rich Central and played his college ball at Illinois, endearing him to […]

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The Sports Section

After the Bears’ season ended, I wanted to leave them behind and get right on with the Bulls. Yet over the last couple of weeks various events conspired to unite the fates of the two teams–in my mind, at least, and no doubt in the minds of many other Chicago fans as well. The firing […]

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The Sports Section

Mike Singletary’s last home football game was one of those occasions sports fans want to explain to people who aren’t sports fans. To fully appreciate the impact and import of the game, one didn’t need to know Singletary personally–although, according to all testimony, it couldn’t have hurt–but one did need to have seen him play […]

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The Sports Section

Scottie Pippen, preparing to pass inbounds from just to the side of the Bulls basket, motioned for the photographer sitting at his feet to move back a little on the apron. With his back to the floor, he thanked the photographer for his cooperation by saying, “Check this out.” Then he turned, took the ball […]