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Names in the Game

December 22, 2003

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) _ Dennis Rodman is trying to revive his basketball career with the Long Beach Jam of the American Basketball Association.

The 42-year-old former NBA star signed a contract Friday and will start practicing with the team after Christmas, said Steve Chase, president of the first-year franchise.

Rodman, who last played in the NBA in 2000 with the Dallas Mavericks, most likely will play his first game for the Jam in mid-January, Chase told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Terms of Rodman’s contract were not released. ABA guidelines limit a team’s player payroll to $120,000 per season.

Rodman led the NBA in rebounds seven times but hasn’t played since being released by the Mavericks. He was arrested in October in Las Vegas and charged with driving under the influence after crashing a motorcycle. He also was arrested in September in Newport Beach for investigation of being drunk in public.

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MEDFIELD, Mass. (AP) _ Drew Bledsoe is finally unloading his old home _ to Curt Schilling.

Schilling told The Associated Press on Monday that he’s buying the former New England Patriots quarterback’s 20-room, 26-acre estate in this affluent Boston suburb.

The property has been on the market since August 2002 after Bledsoe was traded to the Buffalo Bills. It was originally listed for nearly $9 million, but by the fall the price had dropped to $6.5 million. The Boston Red Sox pitcher said he paid much less than $6.5 million but declined to give the price.

Schilling will make at least $12 million next season and agreed to a two-year extension through 2006 worth $25.5 million.

The three-level mansion includes a home theater, wine cellar, spa, exercise and billiard rooms and mahogany bar opening to a pool area adorned with a waterfall.

``We both have the same interests, same hobbies, same ideas for a home,″ Schilling said by telephone.

The home is more than 20 miles from Fenway Park.

``I don’t need to be right next to the park,″ he said. ``I enjoy the ride in and out sometimes.″

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CINCINNATI (AP) _ A store that sells Christian items sold out of a cap with a cross that was similar to one resulting in a $5,000 fine for Bengals quarterback Jon Kitna.

Kitna, a Christian, is appealing the NFL fine for wearing ``unapproved apparel.″ The league requires players to wear NFL-licensed clothing 90 minutes before and after the game during on-air interviews. The rule applies only on Sundays.

Kitna wore the ball cap to a news conference Dec. 14 after a game with San Francisco. He thought the rule applied just to competitors’ products, but he said he won’t wear the cap again.

The fine had nothing to do with religion and was simply a uniform code violation, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday.

Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said he had four calls last week from people wanting to help pay the fine. The team has said the matter is between the league and Kitna.

Jennifer Giroux, co-owner of The Catholic Shop at a suburban Cincinnati mall, said the store sold its remaining supply of 500 caps within an hour of opening Sunday.

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PARIS (AP) _ Tony Parker was voted French Champion of Champions for 2003 by the sports newspaper L’Equipe on Monday.

Parker, who helped the San Antonio Spurs win the NBA title, became the first basketball player to win the award.

``It’s a nice reward for all the hard work I put in, Parker told L’Equipe. ``I’m proud.″

The newspaper called him in an editorial the ``symbol of a reinvigorated France.″ Parker is the only Frenchman to have won an NBA title.

Last year’s winner was skier Carole Montillet.

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ The main U.S. post office in Roberto Clemente’s hometown was named for the Hall of Famer.

The U.S. Postal Service held a dedication ceremony Sunday in the 00983 zip code of Carolina, where the outfielder was born. Clemente also has been honored on U.S. postage stamps.

Clemente played for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1955-72. He had 3,000 hits, batted over .300 13 times and earned 12 consecutive Gold Gloves. On New Year’s Eve 1972, he died at 38 in a plane crash on a trip to aid Nicaraguan earthquake victims.

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BERLIN (AP) _ Jan Ullrich thinks Lance Armstrong is playing mind games leading to next summer’s Tour de France.

Armstong, the five-time champion, called Ulllrich the favorite.

``That’s typical Lance,″ Ullrich told Stern magazine. ``He calls me his biggest motivation. He’s concentrating himself on the duel _ he loves this fight man against man. That’s just targeted to disturb me. He likes it that I’m dangerous to him.″

Ullrich came back from two knee operations and a drug ban to give Armstrong his stiffest test yet before the Texan won his latest Tour. The German captured the race in 1997 and has been runner-up five times.

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) _ Tele Santana, who coached Brazil at the 1982 and 1986 World Cups, had part of his left leg amputated Monday.

Santana, 72, has been battling diabetes for years. He was hospitalized five days ago with circulation problems caused by arteriosclerosis, said Natalia Rezende, a spokeswoman of the Felicio Roxo Hospital in Belo Horizonte.

Santana was in stable condition and probably would be transferred from the intensive care unit to a private room Tuesday, Rezende said.

Santana won World Club championships with Sao Paulo in 1992 and 1993 and led his team to the Copa Libertadores title those same two years.

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