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I wanted to buy you a ‘98 Lexus anyway, Mom

May 7, 1996: California forward Shareef AbdurRahim became the second freshman to declare his eligibility for the NBA draft, tearfully explaining his family obligations outweigh personal desires.

“I’m not doing this for any selfish reasons,” AbdurRahim claimed at the time. “This is not for me. If I was in this world by myself, I’d stay at the University of California. My mom has sacrificed for me all my life, and so has my father.”

May 30, 1996: California freshman forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim, saying he wants “to stay a kid,” announced he has withdrawn his name from next month’s NBA draft and will return to school.

“My heart wasn’t really in that decision,” AbdurRahim says now.

So he cares less about his family now than he did three weeks ago?

Fire alarm? Just hit the snooze button

When the Cleveland Indians were in Toronto, the fire alarm at the Westin Harbour Castle sounded at 2 a.m. The public address system informed guests the matter was under investigation and they could vacate the building if they wanted.

“At first, I wasn’t going to go,” said manager Mike Hargrove. “Then I said: ‘If there is a fire, I’m going to look pretty stupid.”’

So Hargrove walked down 33 flights of stairs to the lobby, where he was joined by a grand total of four teammates - pitcher Eric Plunk and coaches Dave Nelson, Mark Wiley and Luis Isaac.

“I guess that means there’s only five intelligent people on this club,” Hargrove said.

Actually, Albert Belle was upstairs, training a firehose on some uncooperative fans.

Honeymoon in Philly

Dodgers outfielder Milt Thompson spent his Memorial Day getting married in New Jersey in front of about 120 friends and family. And how did they spend their first day together after the wedding?

Well, Thompson was at Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium by 2 p.m. for early batting practice, and his wife sat in 56-degree temperatures watching the game.

… in sickness and in health, in Veterans Stadium and in Wrigley Field, in times of early BP in the cold and in times of sunny games against Colorado pitching…

It could be a fracture

Damion Easley of the California Angels somehow got knocked out of a game Monday that he hadn’t even entered yet.

Easley was supposed to go in for Rex Hudler. But as Hudler was running up the tunnel, he crashed into Easley, who was running down the tunnel. Easley needed three stitches in his cheekbone.

“It was like a car accident,” Hudler told the Orange County Register. “And he was speeding.”

He has TV?

Bum Phillips, former coach of the Houston Oilers, said he lives so far out in the country that “Saturday Night Live” doesn’t reach his television set until Tuesday.

The last word …

“We declare them an NFL franchise. After a few months, they’ll leave.”

- Jay Leno, on how he’d solve the Freemen standoff in Montana

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo