MA: I didn't say that. You know, a corned beef sandwich might do it, from certain delicatessens. Cash is not needed, no.
DP: What do you remember about Jordan's 55 at the Garden?
MA: That is one of the amazing games because what stands out most is the mentality of Jordan—that he is on fire and it comes down to a game-winning play against a very good and aggressive Knicks team, and then he finds the wide-open Bill Wennington underneath for the layup. Most guys would have taken a shot.
DP: Do you realize that I came up with en fuego listening to you say that Sam Cassell was "on fire"? I kept saying el fuego, which means "the fire." Then I finally get a Spanish teacher who wrote me a letter saying, "I think you mean en fuego."
MA: I can understand that.
DP: Thanks for my career, Marv.
The King of Pop
ONE GUY didn't do himself any favors at the NFL combine last week: Andre Smith. The Alabama tackle, who was suspended for the Sugar Bowl after an unspecified violation of team rules, showed up in Indianapolis out of shape and left a day early, saying he was going to work out with his own trainer. SI's Peter King told me, "He single-handedly dropped himself from third [pick in the draft] to 33rd. He's costing himself millions." At the other end of the spectrum, according to King, was Rey Maualuga (above). The USC linebacker may not be imposing, but put him on the field and he gets results. Or, as Peter put it, "He's peaceful, passive, sounds a little like Michael Jackson. Then you see him out on the football field, and he's Jack Tatum."
Ready to Rumble
EVERYONE swoons over the LeBron-Kobe showdowns, but the matchup Reggie Miller wants to see is happening this Thursday night, when the Rockets host the Cavs. Why? "I can't wait to see LeBron James, at 260 pounds, go against the beast, Ron Artest," Miller said of Houston's 260-pounder. He thinks Shane Battier will start the game on James to keep Artest out of foul trouble, but that down the stretch Artest will pick up James—a thought that had Miller raving like Don King. "Ron will get really ticked off when LeBron starts going crazy," Miller told me. "Then late, this will be like a heavyweight fight. Like Tim Witherspoon against John Mugabi. This is beautiful!"