Tom Chambers has a fairly good record in All-Star Games - one appearance, one MVP award. Having starred as a hometown player in the Seattle Kingdome, Chambers has good memories of February 1987 as he enters Sunday's game in the Astrodome.
"Mine was kind of a storybook thing, just because I wasn't supposed to be in the game," said Chambers, who replaced the injured Ralph Sampson. "I don't know if you could ever draw that up again."Now representing Phoenix on the West team, Chambers figures Houston's Akeem Olajuwon is the top MVP candidate - after he won the award in Seattle and Michael Jordan did the same in Chicago.
Chambers still credits Magic Johnson for helping him become the '87 MVP; Johnson will miss Sunday's game with a leg injury. "John Stockton's not too bad a backup," Chambers said.
Having reached a contract agreement for Stockton, ProServ attorney David Falk says his firm represents six of the 12 highest-paid guards in the NBA - all at about $1 million or more. "The market just changes so fast," Falk said. "It was a major threshold for point guards to make a million dollars a couple of years ago."
Asked about Stockton's eight-year contract and the five-year, $7.5 million deal New York's Mark Jackson signed recently, Falk said, "It compares very favorably, but it's not an apples-and-apples comparison. You're at the extremes in markets."
Falk figures the Stockton deal proved he could work with the Jazz after the Adrian Dantley saga; this summer - or sooner - he plans to start talking with them about a contract for Marc Iavaroni, who will be an unrestricted free agent. Of working for Stockton, Falk added, "It's a tremendous sense of satisfaction when a guy hangs in there with you."
At 54, Jazz broadcaster Hot Rod Hundley will be the oldest player in today's Legends Game. When the list of players was announced, Hundley figured he could defend 50-year-old Oscar Robertson - but they both ended up on the East team. "Now, I've got nobody I can guard," he said.
Zelmo Beaty, Hundley's Jazz Cable broadcast partner, will also play for the East while ex-University of Utah guard Mike Newlin will play for the West.
Says Hundley, who will be the color man for the All-Star Game on ABC Radio, "I swear this: I would rather watch the Legends Game any day."
Asked to project the 1999 All-Stars, Pat Riley chose Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone and Isiah Thomas. "I figure they'll be around then," reasoned Riley, "because they all love the money so much." Al McGuire listed Shawn Bradley, the 7-foot-4 junior center from Emery County High in Castle Dale, Utah . . . Malone finished 13th in a Houston Chronicle nationwide media survey to determine the best NBA players of the '80s; Dantley was 15th. The Mailman was by far the youngest of the 29 players who received votes.
The forwards in the top 10 were Larry Bird, Julius Erving, Alex English and Kevin McHale. Dominique Wilkins and Charles Barkley were next. As for 1989, Barkley says of Malone, "He's one of the top two forwards in basketball." You can guess who the other is.