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Mr. Prez, here's a solid Cabinet

Special to Page 2


We are consumed by this swirling and venal world sketched in menacing shades of mendacity and greed, fueled by egomaniacally charged public figures overdosing on testosterone and television.

Allen Iverson
Allen Iverson could really kick up his heels as the new secretary of commerce.
But enough about politics.

How can the comparatively sane and sedate world of sports bring a sense of order and mission to the new presidential administration?

There's a better chance of Hardball's Chris Matthews switching to decaf. Or Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers becoming acting president. Actually, you might want to put a few quid down on that proposition at the Mirage Sports Book, because if the Electoral College vote is tied at the buzzer, there's no OT or golden goal. And if a divided House can't pick either the president or a new speaker, and a split Senate can't agree on a veep, and 97-year-old President Pro Tem Strom Thurmond says "no thanks," and with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright losing her NCAA eligibility (Czech it out), it could be, "Hello, Larry."

But I've digressed. Or, as George W. might say, digested.

Before our new president pencils in his Cabinet lineup card (and aren't you glad there's no DH in the Federal League?), here are some Cabinet nominations to bring the unique wisdom of sports to D.C.

The secretary of state must command global respect, speak with authority and have a clear vision of the overall national mission and purpose in the world. Bill Lee isn't answering his phone up in Vermont. Which is fine, because the pick here is Julius Erving, for the stature he brings to anything he touches. And in the next staredown with Iraq's Tariq Aziz, Doc can flip on the tape of his foul-line dunk at the 1976 ABA All-Star game. I got your no-fly zone right here.

Not only does the secretary of the treasury help set monetary policy, his signature is on each piece of paper currency produced at the U.S. Mint. It makes perfect sense, since he'll be picking up most of the Benjamins to come off the production line this winter, that Alex Rodriguez assume the office.

Encouraging business, even in challenging economic times, is the job of the secretary of commerce. So, hats -- and do-rags -- off to Allen Iverson, for shrewdly parlaying a passé rap song and average styling into a hit-in-waiting. Mr. Secretary, you may reject establishment values, but the mini-tempest over your CD insures boffo sales. Well done.

In choosing an attorney general, the new president needs an assertive and passionate advocate of the downtrodden. So when we glanced over, as sprinter Marion Jones and husband C.J. Hunter held their press conference in Sydney to protest his innocence on doping results, we saw Johnnie Cochran beaming serenely in the wings. Welcome aboard, Gen. Cochran. "If the diet supplement's tainted, my client's still sainted."

Until Bill Richardson's security folks at Los Alamos began performing like Armando Benitez in October, the secretary of energy was a lower-profile gig. No more. Alternative energy is a priority, drawing on heretofore-unimagined sources of power. The best person to expand the known parameters of energy (and dimensions of time and space while he's at it) is the Zenmaster, Phil Jackson.

The new press secretary will need a keen understanding of the near-instantaneous news cycle, the public's right to know, and the ground rules of press engagement. Our candidate now has the time, and, goodness knows, command of the press rooms throughout America. Good luck embroidering the presidential seal on Bob Knight's red sweaters.

Among the duties of the secretary of the interior is setting policy on the use of America's resources, including lumber. But for his Canadian birth, we would certainly nominate Marty McSorley. But Roger Clemens should have no problem being confirmed by the Senate.

Bear in mind, you'll never see this Sports Cabinet as a group in public. There's always one member under separate Secret Service guard when the balance of the Cabinet attends a presidential address. Just in case. That will leave plenty of time for Labor Secretary Don Fehr to sit home and work on his strategy for next year. Right, Bud?

Bob Ley has worked for ESPN since the network's debut in 1979. He is currently the host of "Outside the Lines."

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