This idea couldn't have come at a better time. After two Legends sustained fairly serious injuries last year—Norm Nixon ruptured a quadriceps tendon in his right knee and David Thompson tore a patella tendon in his left knee—it was clearly time to put that game out of its misery. The dunking contest has become a bit stale, too. A rookie game could give a boost to a weekend sorely in need of one.
Franchise player Hakeem Olajuwon, in case you haven't heard, does not care much for his franchise. He and Rocket general manager Steve Patterson have battled over money and Hakeem's attitude, money and Hakeem's supporting cast, money and Hakeem's health, and money. There are only three teams in the NBA—the Knicks, the Magic and the Spurs—that would not salivate over the prospect of having Olajuwon in the middle, but his $3.5 million-a-year contract presents salary-cap problems. Although the Clippers, the Heat and the Sonics all have made strong pitches for Olajuwon, no deal has been consummated.
That may be at least in part because Houston owner Charlie Thomas probably does not want to trade Olajuwon, the Rockets' most valuable player and only star attraction, no matter how bad things get between Olajuwon and Patterson. Thomas is trying to sell the team, and the selling price is certainly affected by Olajuwon's presence.
Houston is a playoff-caliber team, but it missed the 1991-92 postseason, partly because of the distractions caused by Olajuwon's disenchantment. You've got to wonder if Olajuwon has enough professionalism to ignore his problems with management and keep his team afloat.
Two things you didn't know about Bull general manager Jerry Krause:
1) Whenever he and Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf both attend a negotiating session, at least one agent refers to Krause as Jake to avoid the confusion of two Jerrys. Krause rather likes the name.
2) Krause does not list agents by name in his telephone book. Instead, he has them all listed under "A."
"That's not strange," says Jake. "I have my barber listed under 'H' for 'hair.' "