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Names In The Game

April 20, 1993

CHICAGO (AP) _ Any NBA team tampering with a player under contract in Europe could be in trouble. But, the Chicago Bulls say they have nothing to fear because they have been doing nothing improper regarding Toni Kukoc.

″Kukoc has been telling people he wants to be here,″ Bulls general partner Jerry Reinsdorf said. ″He’s told writers in Europe, which is all well and good, but we haven’t talked to him.″

Kukoc is finishing his second season in Europe with Benetton and has four years left on a $25 million contract.

″We have not made him an offer since he signed with Benetton, and we have not engaged in any negotiating,″ Reinsdorf said Monday. ″And we won’t until someone shows us a piece of paper that says he’s released from his obligation to Benetton.″

The Bulls picked Kukoc in the second round of the 1990 draft and offered him a six-year $15.3 million deal, but he rejected it.

Bulls general manager Jerry Krause was at the European Final Four last week to scout.

″I’m sure he talked to Toni, but he can’t talk business,″ Reinsdorf said.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Hall of Famer Tom Seaver has ideas about the qualities needed in baseball’s next commissioner.

″They have to find somebody who has some sense of a baseball background and a business background, someone with ties to Washington because of the politics of baseball,″ Seaver said.

″I’d like to see someone with a history in the game. An ex-player would be terrific.″

That doesn’t mean he’s necessarily a candidate. Seaver signed Tuesday as a spokesman for Chemical Bank’s Middle Market Group.

Would he consider a baseball job?

″I’d be interested in a baseball position inside, running a club. I’d definitely be interested in that. Not commissioner or league president.″

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ATLANTA (AP) - Mats Wilander, once the world’s top-ranked tennis player, will come out of semi-retirement next week to play in the AT&T Challenge in Atlanta.

Wilander, 28, accepted a wild-card berth.

He won the Australian, French and U.S. Opens in 1988, but has not appeared in an ATP Tour event since June 1991.

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GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - TV baskeball commentator Dick Vitale will be the roastee June 1 at celebrity roast that will benefit the Jimmy V Cancer Foundation.

The roast was organized by the basketball coaches committee of the Atlantic Coast Conference, headed by North Carolina State coach Les Robinson.

All nine coaches plan to participate in the roast.

The Jimmy V Cancer Foundation was formed earlier this year by former N.C. State coach Jim Valvano and ESPN to fund cancer research programs.

Valvano, who is battling cancer, was hospitalized at Duke University Medical Center until early April, and is now at his home in Cary.

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LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) - World 400-meter hurdles champion Samuel Matete’s ban for allegedly receiving illegal payments to compete in international meets was overturned Tuesday by Zambia’s sports council.

The ban was imposed Sunday by Zambian Amateur Athletic Association secretary-general Godfrey Mwanza.

″There is no way we will allow Mr. Mwanza to proceed with the ban,″ said Tony Mtine, chairman of the National Sports Council. ″He acted without consulting other members of his association.″

Matete threatened to renounce his Zambian citizenship and compete for any other country that would have him if the ban was upheld.

Matete won the world title at the 1991 World Championships in Tokyo.

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HUNTING VALLEY, Ohio (AP) - One of the nation’s most successful prep school tennis coaches, Geoff Morton, quit over the furor that followed his slapping two players to discipline them.

″Neither kid was hurt but my action was not appropriate,″ said Morton, whose University School team won five national interscholastic championships, and two of the last three state championships. In 18 years, his teams won 441 matches and lost 31.

Morton will remain as assistant to the headmaster of the suburban Cleveland prep school. He also is basketball coach.

Headmaster Richard Hawley called Morton ″a very good man″ who had made an error. ″He has done everything in his power to make it right and so will we,″ Hawley said.

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Former LPGA player Cathy Gerring, severely burned almost a year ago at a tournament near Nashville, has sued six defendants for $25 million in damages.

Gerring was burned last April 25 when liquid alcohol being poured into a food-warming unit ignited as she stood in a buffet line. She was engulfed in flames from her waist up.

She suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns on her head, face, hands and left hip. She was hospitalized for 10 days and required skin grafts on both hands. The most recent surgery, to her right palm, was Tuesday.

″Obviously, I would much rather be competing on the LPGA Tour than be involved in a lawsuit over the injuries I sustained,″ she said. ″I can no longer play the sport I love, and no amount of money can compensate me for that loss.″

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