Mike Brown, the former Jazzman who maintains a fast food restaurant in Salt Lake City, was back in town last week with the Minnesota Timberwolves. As long as he was here, Brown decided he may as well stop in at Brown Bear's Burgers and Dogs - and bring along 15 or so of his close personal friends.

Brown said he took the team, coaching staff and trainers to the restaurant. "They all ate free," said Brown.How did they like his burgers with the fries piled on top? "No complaints," said Brown. The 6-foot-9 Brown then called out to teammate Marlon Maxey, who was warming up: "Hey, Max! Was the food good?"

"It was good," said Maxey dutifully.

The Bear added that though he is no longer a Jazzman, he continues his policy for NBA players: first meal is free, everything after that is half price.

Karl Malone was once called a gorilla by Armon Gilliam. However, the Mailman says if reincarnated, his choice would be something more . . . lofty.

"I'd see myself coming back as a bald eagle if I came back as an animal - something that's not confined. When I'm playing basketball, I'm like that," he said in a recent issue of NBA News.

Malone continued, "Only the strong survive. If you're weak in the jungle, somebody's going to eat you. When you're weak on the basketball court, everybody knows that, and everybody takes their shot."

In the don't-you-have-something-better-to-do? category comes this news out of New York. Two NYU Stern School of Business professors have characterized the NBA as being the same as any business, with each player with his/her own job.

The professors studied NBA stats from 1987-88 and 1973-74. Joel Steckel and Avijit Ghosh say there are several categories of players in the NBA, including Scorers, Dishers, Bangers, the Inner Court, Walls and Fillers.

The Scorers get the glory, take the shots and score the points. The professors named Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Dominique Wilkins as cases in point.

Dishers are unsung heroes who spend their time distributing the ball to others. Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and John Stockton were given as examples.

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Bangers (Charles Oakley, Bill Laimbeer, A.C. Green) provide muscle, while the Inner Court includes players who show a strong inside presence (Kevin McHale, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Patrick Ewing). Walls do little except block shots (Mark Eaton, Tree Rollins, Hot Rod Williams). And Fillers spend their time fouling and stealing the ball. (The example given here is the 1987-88 New Jersey Nets, all of whom were mainly Fillers.)

For all their scholarly considerations, the good professors left out a crucial category: Stiffs/Slugs. These people spend their time filling seats on airplanes and team benches. Nevertheless, we'll venture to include a few names: John Koncak, Rich King, Gheorghe Muresan, Bill Wennington.

This column includes materials gathered from outside news sources.