Santa Claus-trophobia in Philly
By Tim Keown
Page 2 columnist

So you're in promotions for an NBA team and you want to bring people out to the arena. You've got the dancers and the hot-dog guns and the chainsaw-juggling weimeraners at halftime. But everybody's got those, and you want to separate yourself from the pack.

Allen Iverson
Really, who needs AI, one of the toughest guys in the league, when you have lots of Santas!
After all, you aren't everybody.

And here comes Christmas, and here comes the worst team in the league to play in your place on a day when people are more interested in brawling over a cheap piece of junk at Wal-Mart than watching hoop. What do you do? How do you make it happen in a way that is yours and yours alone?

Put it this way: USA Today is reporting that the Sixers are going all-out to break the record for "largest gathering of Santas" at their Dec. 22 game against Orlando.

If you weren't a Sixers fan before, you're sure to be one now.

This Week's List

  • Kind of like the Florida Gators' inglorious stay at No. 1 in the college hoop polls: Describing the stock market's up-and-down reaction to the capture of Saddam, an earnest young woman on CNBC said, "What we had was an emotional rally and a rotational erosion."

  • The real reason the Pentagon waited roughly 16 hours to announce the capture of Saddam Hussein: After they pulled him out of that hole, they had to take extra precautions to make sure they didn't unwittingly disrupt an unpublicized David Blaine stunt.

  • As anyone who's ever read the timeless children's classic can tell you, there's one piece of advice Saddam should have followed: A hole is to dig.

  • Why Barry Bonds' 2004 season might make him the first big-leaguer to score 100 runs, walk 475 times and register exactly zero official at bats: At this stage, the Giants are heading to spring training with the following outfielders -- Bonds, Marquis Grissom, Michael Tucker, Jeffrey Hammonds and Dustan Mohr.

  • Oh, wait, forgot -- this will make up for it: Neifi Perez at short and Pedro Feliz at first.

  • Here's a truly shocking headline: "Kobe defense depicts accuser as troubled."

  • Just for the heck of it: DeWayne Scales.

  • So, one question as baseball's winter meetings end: Have you taken advantage of the slow-witted people running the Dodgers today?

  • Hey, guys: How about Shawn Green for Neifi Perez, straight up?

    Joe Horn
    Joe Horn should be embarrassed. His act wasn't even funny.

  • One way sports writers and broadcasters attempt to be hip: Defending guys like Joe Horn, who make fools of themselves while mocking the game.

  • What's under my goal post? you ask: A roast beef sandwich and a transistor radio.

  • Horn's biggest mistake: Not being funny, and then saying he pulled out the phone because "fans around the world" deserve that kind of madcap hilarity.

  • Miguel Tejada, maybe Pudge Rodriguez, maybe Vladimir Guerrero ... if you're looking for underlying meaning: The better the Orioles get, the closer the Expos get to moving to the Washington D.C. area.

  • A little more than a week later: USC is still a really good football team on the field, but it has a tough time with the computer games.

  • And proving, once again, that people can be every bit as dumb as a computer: Not to be outdone by the BCS, the college basketball coaches' poll this week featured No. 15 Gonzaga, bouncing four spots after a big win over Missouri, now No. 14.

  • Uh, Roger, the Astros are in the National League, if you know what I mean and I think you do: Andy Pettitte or not, the guess here is Roger Clemens plays the Houston card for maximum drama, then ends up signing with an American League team.

  • In the mid-'70s, the Steelers called this kind of execution "Whatever It Takes": When Chiefs receiver Johnnie Morton said before the season that one of his goals this year was to get Matt Millen fired, he probably never figured it might come about this way.

  • By the way: Millen's got to be smarter than to go off like that. Doesn't he?

  • Sometimes, nothing else needs to be said: Tonight, the New Orleans Bowl.

  • And somewhere, Dieter Brock popped the cork on a bottle of champagne: Redskin quarterback Tim Hasselbeck rang up a 0.0 quarterback rating against the Cowboys on Sunday.

  • And finally, be sure to stay tuned: Up next, another installment of "Let's All Talk At Once."

    Tim Keown is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.





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