The world is getting more expensive dept.: The pending sale of the Minnesota Timberwolves to a group in New Orleans for $152 million may not seem like a lot of money compared to, say, the national debt. But consider another Louisiana purchase - make that the Louisiana Purchase - of a mere 191 years ago. In an 1803 deal made between U.S. President Thomas Jefferson and Napoleon I of France, America got 827,987 square miles of land . . . and France got $15 million.
In other words, for a tenth of what it cost Louisiana to get an NBA franchise, the United States got everything between the Mississippi River, the Rocky Mountains, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Canadian border. Interestingly, the northern boundary of the Louisiana Purchase was on the banks of the Mississippi near Minneapolis, the southern boundary in New Orleans.
SUPERLATIVE HABIT: You can say what you want about Larry Brown as a loyalist, but there can't be much argument about the much-traveled coach's credentials as a winner. Brown's whistle stop this year was in Indiana, where not only did the Pacers, in their first season under Brown, not only make it to the NBA's Eastern Conference finals, but their 47-35 regular season record was the best in franchise history.
Getting best-ever seasons out of teams is nothing new for Brown. He has been the head coach at eight difference teams in the pros and colleges, and seven of them have had alltime best seasons during his (brief) stay. The list includes the Carolina Cougars of the ABA (57-27), the Denver Rockets of the ABA (65-19), the New Jersey Nets of the NBA (49-33; 47-29 under Brown), the Kansas Jayhawks in college (35-4), the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA (56-26), the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA (45-37; 23-12 under Brown), and the Pacers.
The only team Brown has coached that hasn't recorded his best-ever won-lost record during his stay was UCLA. Despite taking the Bruins to the NCAA's Final Four in 1980, even Brown couldn't outdo John Wooden's 30-0 record of 1967.
LASTING IMPRESSION: Add LaVell Edwards' name to those who aren't surprised that Ohio State defensive end Dan Wilkinson was drafted No. 1 in this year's NFL draft.
"Nothing's more important these days than a good pass rusher," says the BYU coach, who remembers only too well the ringside seat he had of Wilkinson last December when BYU and Ohio State met in the Holiday Bowl. "In the fourth quarter he (Wilkinson) just kept coming and coming," says Edwards. "That's the time of the game when you hope people are getting tired, when fatigue can take over. It didn't for him. He never stopped. Not for one play. That's not easy to do."
DAMAGE CONTROL: NBA commissioner David Stern on why he's leading the crusade against violence in the league:
"I don't know exactly what we have to do to get it across, but we've got to make the point to our players that they're not each other's natural enemies. They're fellow players in this league, and given what they represent to kids, given their stature, given the damage they can do to each other, we just have to satisfy ourselves we're doing everything we can do eliminate that kind of activity."
IT CAUGHT UP TO THEM: Seattle SuperSonics coach George Karl on the undiscipline he feels was responsible for the Sonics' flame-out in the NBA playoffs:
"The character flaw of the NBA game is greed, statistics, money and recognition. That's what is always fighting team and coaching.
"The honeymoon is definitely over," says Karl. "The hammer is now in my hand."
NEW TITLE, SAME OFFENSE: Former University of Utah football coach Jim Fassel has gotten a promotion in Denver, where he is now assistant head coach to Wade Phillips. But that doesn't mean anything will change with the Broncos' offense.
"Hey, we're a ball-control team that throws the football, and don't you forget it," Fassel recently told the Denver Post. "We were at 1.8 percent in interceptions last year, which was one of the best figures in the National Football League. That's ball control, that's not pass happy stuff."
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer, now the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys, on the difference between college and professional players. "The pros are bigger, better and richer."