Sun, Feb 01, 2004 - Page 24 News List

NBA doesn't like Jazz tune


The Utah Jazz were fined US$15,000 by the NBA for a skit that ridiculed Karl Malone and teammate Kobe Bryant during a timeout in the Los Angeles Lakers' game at Utah last week.

NBA vice president Stu Jackson levied the fine, issuing a two-paragraph statement Friday saying the Jazz were penalized for "performing a mascot skit that ridiculed opposing players."

During a timeout last Saturday, Jazz mascot "Bear" answered a fake call that was broadcast over the loudspeakers. The caller imitated Malone's voice and identified himself as "Mail," saying he wanted to come "home," LA fans were "mean" to him and the Lakers don't pass him the ball.

The call ended with the impersonated voice saying, "I guess it could be worse. I could be Ko...," stopping short of saying Kobe.

Bryant had spent the previous day in Colorado, where he's facing trial on a sexual assault charge.

The skit continued during a later timeout, this time with Jazz owner Larry Miller -- sitting courtside -- accepting a call from the Malone impersonator, hanging up and throwing the phone to the floor.

"After 18 years, for them to stoop to that kind of level, that's no class," Malone said. "And that's something I'll never forget."

The Jazz later issued an apology to the Lakers organization.

Malone said Friday night that he doesn't accept Utah's apology.

"It's not sincere," he said. "The guy who was involved, who they put the blame on, apologized and I accept his because he's sincere. Other people there, no. I forgive, don't get me wrong, but I don't accept it because it's not real."

Kobe gets cut

Lakers star Kobe Bryant was placed on the injured list because of a severe cut on his right index finger that will keep him out of action for at least a week.

The Lakers said Bryant needed nine to 10 stitches to close the wound. He was injured Thursday night when he accidentally put his hand through a glass window while trying to move boxes in his garage.

"I'm doing something where I'm leaning on a window. It doesn't hold me up. I guess I'm too strong," Bryant said. "Hand went through and I cut myself."

Griffin takes a break

New Jersey Nets forward Eddie Griffin plans to enter the Betty Ford Center next week for six weeks of alcohol abuse treatment, his lawyer told The New York Times.

"Eddie feels he needs further help with his drinking problem," Rusty Hardin said Friday. "He's very disappointed. But he's thankful for the way the Nets have reacted to his request for further treatment. He realizes these are problems he's created."

Hardin said Griffin's agent, Arn Tellem, has arranged for the player to fly to Southern California to enter the center Wednesday.

Griffin took a leave from the Nets on Wednesday, three weeks after signing with the team.

Griffin is currently in Houston, where he was recently convicted of marijuana possession. Griffin also faces a separate charge of felony aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

The Nets signed Griffin after he was released by the Rockets.

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