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Thu., Oct. 9, 1997

Jerry-built fabrications

Jay Mariotti in the Chicago Sun-Times on the breakup of the Bulls after this season and the roles of owner Jerry Reinsdorf and general manager Jerry Krause:

“Like evil, selfish Scrooges at Christmas, they are eager to break up a dynasty and shut down one of the world’s finer entertainment treasures so they can pursue that most farcical of ambitions: trying to win an NBA title of their own.

“Then, to prove how big he is, Krause suggested the contributions of (Michael) Jordan, (Coach Phil) Jackson and (Scottie) Pippen weren’t as critical as the cohesiveness of the whole franchise.

“Translation: He has been more instrumental in the dynasty. ‘It’s organizations that win championships,’ Krause said, babbling on as he has for years.”

Just don’t give him any lip

Pittsburgh Steelers fans usually talk about the “Bus” - running back Jerome Bettis. This week, they’re all abuzz about the “Buss” - coach Bill Cowher’s sideline smooch of Kordell Stewart.

After Stewart scored on a 74-yard touchdown run Sunday in Baltimore, he collided shoulder-to-shoulder with Cowher, the kind of respectful hit that players often exchange, and hugged his coach.

As the two embraced, Cowher leaned over and gave his first-year starting quarterback a fatherly like kiss on the cheek.

The kiss has been the talk of Pittsburgh, as fans try to imagine a hard-edge coach such as Bill Parcells celebrating a comeback by nailing Neil O’Donnell with a peck on the cheek.

“I’m an emotional guy. It’s an emotional game,” Cowher said Tuesday. “What can I say? … The things I do during the game, I don’t think about them. I get caught up in a love of the game.”

Maybe Cowher was trying to kiss and make up with his players; two weeks before, he screamed and sprayed spittle at punter Josh Miller for twice punting into the end zone.

Think we’d rather be spit at.

For good reason

Point guard Stephon Marbury of the Minnesota Timberwolves on the impact of teammate Kevin Garnett’s six-year, $125 million contract:

“Bob Cousy and those guys must be sick to their stomachs.”

A court case?

Rita Ewing, wife of the New York Knicks’ Patrick, has written a novel called “Seasonal Tides” built around a behind-the-scenes look at the NBA.

“It will be an interesting and juicy look at the NBA and its goings-on,” she said. Her husband hasn’t read it. He told her: “I’ll just sue you if I don’t like it.”

The livin’ is Big Easy

New Orleans Saints coach Mike Ditka didn’t get misty-eyed over his homecoming to Chicago when his team came to town for a game.

“You get a little melancholy, you see the skyline and that. But heck, I like the skyline (in New Orleans),” said Ditka, who coached the Bears to a Super Bowl win in 1985. “I like the smell of that swamp water. I like those crawdaddies crawling around. I see those rattlers rolling around there. I like that. Where ya’ at (is) where ya’ at.”

The last word …

“I’ll get it when I die.”

- Yogi Berra, on why he bought an expensive life insurance policy.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

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