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Malik and the Missing Playbook: A True Story

April 30, 1993

NEW YORK (AP) _ A pro basketball rookie learned all about his playoff opponents at the same time that thousands of radio listeners did Friday after his lost playbook wound up in the hands of a local morning host.

″It doesn’t get any better than this,″ Don Imus said after spending his air time reading the Indiana Pacers coaching staff’s negative comments on Patrick Ewing, John Starks and the rest of the New York Knicks.

Mistake No. 1: Malik Sealy, a native New Yorker who should know better, left his playbook at Kennedy International Airport. A loyal Imus listener discovered the book and delivered it, for two tickets to Friday’s Pacers- Knicks game, to the WFAN-AM studio in Queens.

Voila 3/8 Instant entertainment, as Imus read these bon mots on the Pacers’ first-round playoff opponents:

- Patrick Ewing: ″Susceptible to foul trouble. Go right at him.″

- Greg Anthony: ″We can get him rattled. Mistake-prone. Shooting is erratic.″

- Charles Smith: ″Doesn’t like to be bumped. Must be physical with him.″

- John Starks: ″We can force him into terrible shots. Goes into a funk for stretches of the game. Trash-talker. Ask about his sister.″

Hey, wait a minute - his sister? ″Maybe that’s not in there,″ Imus acknowledged.

The red-faced Pacers confirmed Imus did indeed have the official, 1993, ex- Malik Sealy copy of their scouting report.

Mistake No. 2: Sealy called the acid-tongued Imus and told him it was tasteless to read the playbook on the air. Surprise 3/8 Imus disagreed.

″I told him to grow up and shut up,″ said Imus. ″This is basketball, not cancer. Anyway, I think the first person to open the book was me. It didn’t look to me like it was read a lot.″

Mistake No. 3: Sealy forgot to hide his coach’s radio. Indiana Coach Bob Hill said his rookie forward’s wallet would be a few dollars lighter over the gaffe. The good news: Malik should be quicker without a playbook and that cash to lug around.

Sealy’s bad day was good news for the Tomorrow’s Children Fund. In addition to providing the provider of the playbook with playoff tickets, Imus donated $1,000 in his name to the charity.

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