Diana Ross wore velvet hot pants to the Ali-Frazier fight, and you can buy the brief form-fitting style in monkey fur and even mink at Georges Kaplan on Fifth Avenue in New York. But trend-setting girls with an eye on style and budget are rooting around in sporting goods stores for their hot pants. Right next to hockey sticks and boxing gloves and baseball bats are shorts in shiny, garish satin or subtler nylon (complete with piping and stripes to go) that ordinarily are bought only by—well—men. And very athletic men, too, for these are basketball shorts, boxing trunks, track and field pants. At Gerry Cosby's, the famed sporting goods emporium that used to occupy a corner of old Madison Square Garden and followed along to the Garden's glittering new location, Mike Cosby says, "For the first time in our history we can't meet the demand for boxing trunks and basketball shorts." Cosby was referring, of course, to flyweight boxing trunks and less than pro basketball-size shorts. Girl-size shorts, in other words.

The girls like the abbreviated fit and the abrupt, all-out hues so typical of sports uniforms, which more and more are in tune with the demands of color television. They team the sports shorts with things like long, striped hockey socks and a wide variety of tops, from basketball shirts to hockey and football jerseys.

After a recent practice session at the Garden, Willis Reed and Dick Barnett of the Knickerbockers stopped by Cosby's and were amused and amazed by the sight of girls modeling clothing they had previously thought of as being strictly in man's domain. Like most males, they don't care for the calf-length midi, but hot pants or sports shorts, which can be worn anywhere the popular miniskirt can, meet with their enthusiastic approval. As for the girls (opposite and next page), they like the shorts because they are imaginative, unexpected, shiny and tight, and they obviously appeal to man's sporting instincts.

PHOTOSTEPHEN GREEN-ARMYTAGEWILLIS REED and Dick Barnett of the Knicks sit in a sporting goods shop and marvel at how hot sports shorts look on sleek chicks. TWO PHOTOSSTEPHEN GREEN-ARMYTAGETHE LINEUP (top) shows prettier legs than you'll ever sec in a boxing ring or an NBA game, but they're wearing exactly the same shorts and trunks. Below, girls dig around in racks and shelves for pro team shirts and socks to wear with their colorful sports shorts.

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