TRACK AND FIELD
Mobil 1 Invitational
Meet organizers heaved a sigh of relief when two-time Olympic
100-meter champion Gail Devers agreed last week to race after
she had skipped the Millrose Games because she deemed the
appearance fee too low. In a matchup of divas, Devers will
battle archrival Gwen Torrence (above) at 60 meters for only the
second time (Devers prevailed at the 1994 Millrose). Providing
commentary will be the multiply gilded, multiply gifted Michael
Johnson, who didn't run at Millrose (and won't here) but blew
away the field in the broadcast booth.
NBC, 2 PM
Arturo Gatti vs. Tracy Harris Patterson
February 24, 1997
In a rematch of the bout voted 1995 Fight of the Year, Gatti
(26-1, 22 KOs) defends his IBF junior lightweight crown in
Atlantic City against former champ Patterson (56-4-1, 39 KOs),
who still thinks he was jobbed by a unanimous decision the first
time around. After enduring Oliver McCall's recent rendition of
The Crying Game, boxing fans could use a dose of Rocky, and
Gatti certainly fits the part. Last March, in his most recent
title defense, he rallied from oblivion--one knockdown, one
nasty cut, one eye swollen shut--to win on a TKO over Wilson
Rodriguez and then announced, "Yo, Adrian, I did it."
HBO, 11 PM
Duke at UCLA
Most coaches think playing out of conference at this time of
year is an unnecessary distraction, but to Duke's Mike
Krzyzewski it provides a non-ACC measuring stick for the
postseason. Expect Bruins forward Charles O'Bannon to be well
behaved. He sat out the first half of last year's game (an 85-66
Duke victory) as punishment for missing practice the morning
after his 21st birthday party. O'Bannon turns an older and wiser
22 the night before this one.
ABC, 2 PM
Lakers at Rockets
Finding the vital center isn't just a problem of politics, as
the Lakers would attest. With Shaquille O'Neal out eight to 10
weeks with severe leg injuries, can replacement Elden Campbell
become, as President Clinton might say, the repairer of the
breach? Campbell's toughest challenge will come tonight when he
takes on Houston's All-Star pivotman, Hakeem Olajuwon (left). In
another intriguing matchup, we can almost hear Rocket and
prospective politician Charles Barkley polishing his oratory for
L.A. rookie forward Travis Knight.
TNT, 8 PM
Outside the Lines
In Breaking the Line: Jackie Robinson's Legacy, host Bob Ley
examines the effects of integration on baseball 50 years after
Robinson (below) broke the sport's color line, with the Brooklyn
Dodgers. "We have new evidence," says Ley, "that the depth of
resistance was much more widespread than previously documented."
Players from three 1947 clubs reveal a failed conspiracy in
which teams threatened not to take the field; the plotters were
thwarted when commissioner A.B. (Happy) Chandler told them he'd
ban them from the game for life. In perhaps the show's most
dramatic moment, Jesse Jackson gives an updated version of the
eulogy he delivered at Robinson's '72 funeral.
ESPN, 8:30 PM
THE ! ZAPPER
Massachusetts' basketball team may have played better of late
(witness last Saturday's 78-61 demolition of Maryland), but only
a UMass-ochist would enjoy watching a team with double-digit
losses compete 17 times this season on national TV. That's the
same number as top-15 teams Minnesota, Iowa State, South
Carolina, New Mexico and Colorado combined. For the unsated,
episode XVI of the Minutemen Saga pits UMass against St.
Joseph's (ESPN2, Feb. 25, 9:30 p.m.).
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.