When you see the Mailman's new television commercial for L.A. Gear on Super Bowl Sunday, you may also see someone else you know.
Jazz Director of Media Relations Kim Turner was among those selected as an extra, playing the part of another player.The production crew filmed several of Karl Malone's favorite moves, including hammer dunks and his rolling-across-the-lane hooks. At one point they asked Turner, who played basketball at Weber State, to guard Malone.
"He dunked in my face," says Turner. "Then he told me about it. He said, `I'm gonna go in and dunk on your dome.' "
Turner says they had Malone post up in front of him, and "he elbowed me twice in the chin."
"He was just leaning on me and about popped my knees out of joint," he says.
Turner adds that he has a new appreciation for those who guard the Mailman in real life. "For the few minutes I was out there, he kicked my rear. I'm sure those guys who guard him (in games) take an absolute beating. He was just backing in a little on me and he was firing elbows, pushing, shoving, pulling, kicking . . . those guys gotta earn their money that guard him."
AGING GRACEFULLY: A long, long time ago (well, OK, 1987), Ricky Green was the Utah' Jazz's starting point guard, until All-Star John Stockton began to develop. But now, once again, Green is back in the starting lineup, this time with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Green, who became a starter after Johnny Dawkins sustained a season-ending knee injury against Milwaukee, has stepped in to average 11 points and five assists. He is the NBA's oldest backcourt player.
"I knew I could handle the situation, but I haven't really played in four years," Green says. "Now I'm going against the other starters again, the best point guards in the world, but I don't feel like anybody's going to use me out there. I'm going to hold my own. People have this frame of mind about age. I hate to hear it. Old is however old you feel. If I'm old, it will show up in how I'm playing."
BY THE NUMBERS: The Jazz's trade for Jeff Malone holds up as a good one, statistically. Comparing Malone to last year's starting off-guard, Bobby Hansen, he is well ahead of Hansen in some key categories. Over the first 30 games, Malone was averaging 19.2 points a game (.516), compared to Hansen's season average of 9.3 (.417). And Malone is averaging .93 steals a game, compared to .58 for Hansen.
In fairness, Hansen has been plagued by injuries this year.
Thanks partly to Malone's arrival, the scoring of point guard John Stockton is a little down. Stockton is averaging 15.8 points, compared to a season average of 17.2 last year. Due to a recent shooting slump, he is also down on field goal percentage (.478 to .514).
Stockton remains as reliable as ever in assists, averaging 14.4 to last year's 14.5 per game.
HEAVY COMPETITION: To underscore how competitive life is in the NBA, consider this: A number of former first-round NBA draft choices are now making their living in the CBA.
Among the first-rounders now toiling in the minor leagues are David Rivers (drafted No. 25 by the Lakers in 1988), Leon Wood (drafted 10th by the Sixers in 1984), Albert King (drafted 10th by New Jersey in 1981) and Roy Marble (drafted 23rd by Atlanta in 1989).
As Phoenix forward Kurt Rambis observed, the odds of making the NBA aren't great. "I think there are more brain surgeons than there are players in the NBA."
IT'S A LIVING: Milwaukee Coach Del Harris on his job: "Enjoy this? No, I don't think that's the word to describe my relationship to my job. It's a love-hate relationship. But what other legal job is there where you have this kind of excitement every day? About the most you can say . . . it's like robbing a bank, holding up a stagecoach. I think basketball coaches are the last of the old cowboys. You know, you live on the edge every day, and the posse is just around the corner. By `posse' I mean the owners, the media, and here we are, strategizing our attack like cops and robbers."
ON HOLD: It is a calculated risk on both sides. Jazz owner Larry Miller and players Jeff Malone and Mike Brown have shelved their contract talks until next summer.
Miller says the Jazz tried to renegotiate the contracts for both players last summer, but the talks went nowhere. Malone becomes a restricted free agent next summer and Brown an unrestricted free agent.
"So, rather than make it tough on the players during the season, we agreed to put it to rest until the season ends," says Miller. "We have no timetable, because we don't want to worry about it during the season."
Miller said it's "too far away to tell" if there will be serious problems over contracts.
"They see an opportunity to go in and step it up a notch this year," continues Miller. "I guess they're rolling the dice. It all depends on how they play (this year)."
TRIVIA DEPT.: The Clippers' Loy Vaught came across his name in an unusual way - from the first letters of his uncles Louie and Oliver and his aunt Yvonne.
This column may include items gathered from other news sources.