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Magee Was Always King of the Anteaters

Special to The Times

The death of Kevin Magee, a two-time All-American basketball player at UC Irvine who was killed in a car accident last week, reminds Morning Briefing of how highly he was regarded by Bill Mulligan, who coached him at Saddleback College and Irvine.

Mulligan always made sure Magee -- who led Saddleback to a 34-1 record in 1979-80 and a year later at Irvine was third in the nation in scoring (27.5) -- was the center of attention.

Before every Saddleback away game, Mulligan would hop aboard the team van and ask, “Is Magee on the bus?” When someone said, yes, Mulligan would announce, “OK, let’s go.”

At Irvine, Mulligan had benched talented-but-undisciplined point guard Jason Works.

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When he was told Works had said, “I listen to what Coach says, but I do what the Lord tells me to,” Mulligan barked, “Doesn’t God ever tell him to give the ... ball to Magee?”

Trivia time: How old was John Madden when he became coach of the Oakland Raiders?

What a sap: Apparently, Warren Sapp has no problems with racially insensitive remarks ... as long as he’s making them.

Over-the-top personal hype is one thing, but his recent remarks to Jay Glazer of cbssportsline.com are a bit much.

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Sapp, referring to his recent run-ins with the NFL office, said, “Like I said before, it’s a slave system. Make no mistake about it, slave master say you can’t do it, don’t do it. They’ll make an example out of you.”

Mountain view: After 10 years on the U.S. ski team, Chad Fleischer has decided to retire.

“That passion and fire I’ve always lived with and skied with just hasn’t been there,” said Fleischer, who missed a medal in the super giant slalom by .27 of a second in the 1999 world championships. “There are very, very few people who have that edge, that desire to sacrifice everything -- even your life -- to get where you need to be.”

Fleischer, 31, has had five knee operations. “If you want to play golf and walk when you’re 40,” he said, “you’ve got to look at the big picture.”

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Feel the beat: Clearly, Tim Sullivan of the San Diego Union-Tribune is having a hard time understanding enigmatic Charger receiver David Boston.

Sullivan calls Boston “a riddle wrapped in mystery inside a set of shoulder pads.”

He doesn’t only march to a different drummer, according to Sullivan, Boston “is a one-man percussion section, complete with congas, bongos, cymbals, maracas and castanets.”

Screen pass: There’s riveting drama these days at the Pontiac Silverdome.

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The Lions abandoned the place in 2002 for Ford Field in downtown Detroit, but fans might find the fare back at the Silverdome more interesting than watching the Lions.

Three movie screens are erected in the Silverdome parking lot at dusk each night, offering first-run double features.

Trivia answer: 33.

And finally: Houston Rocket Coach Jeff Van Gundy, explaining to the Houston Chronicle how he communicates with Yao Ming:

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“He speaks extremely well. Like most Americans or foreign players, he understands about half of what I say.”


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