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Sympathy for devil

John Stockton's popularity is amazing.

Tickets for his farewell ceremony this week were snatched up in minutes. That's faster than tickets went for the Rolling Stones concert.

Could it be that Stockton is bigger in this town than Mick Jagger?

Let's put it this way: The Stockton tickets were free; the Stones cost $100.

Drawing card

The Stockton farewell ceremony added a dimension late last week.

It was announced anyone who can't get in the building may still attend the party outside the Delta Center. There will be a giant screen telecast, face painters, stilt walkers and a live band.

Stockton has promised to be there beforehand to mingle with the crowd, pose for pictures and sign autographs.

OK, I lied about that part.

But the part about the stilt walkers is true!

Limited options

The Jazz are saying (surprise!) they'll take the best pick available in this year's draft.

That might not be good news. Luther Wright was the best pick available in 1993. How about Eric Murdock in '91 and Quincy Lewis in '99?

Best picks available, one and all.

The classic foul-up was 1987, when they took Jose Ortiz.

Still, picking in the high teens and low 20s every year, what can they expect?

More Quincy Lewises, no doubt about it.

Wandering eye

Speaking of the draft, the Jazz have already identified their top priority for the off-season — finding a power forward.

Not that they don't already have one.

They will likely have more money than anyone to offer Karl Malone for next year. Still, you have to figure he isn't happy hearing the Jazz's No. 1 priority is finding his eventual replacement.

Up-to-date Rock On percentages on Malone leaving Utah: 65-35.

Hands on experience

Atlantic Coast Conference officials toured the University of Miami, last week, scouting the prospects of adding the Florida school. They met for an hour with school president Donna Shalala.

Is that the same Donna Shalala that was once the secretary of Health and Human Services?

The one and only.

Which explains why she knows so much about the health of the Big East.

In your face

According to the National Enquirer, actress Tara Reid flies to Mexico regularly for $200 facials, in which they pour beer on her face.

Sounds like a Larry Eustachy road trip to me.


Mike Tyson. Again.

He recently told Fox News Channel he despises Desiree Washington, the beauty queen he was convicted of raping.

"Anybody else having fun like that, it's young boys having fun," Tyson said. "But it's me, I'm a big black rapist . . . That's the stigma I'm left with."

Gee. Wonder how that happened.

E-MAIL: rock@desnews.com