WE’RE STILL MISSING THAT MAGIC FEELING

THE LIVE ALBOM

* It’s Friday. Magic still hasn’t called . . .

* Maybe he’s waiting for Jim Gray to give him the Pistons’ phone number.

* Or maybe someone told Mr. Johnson that you actually, you know, have to go to the games if you want to coach the team.

* Speaking of the NBA, Jason Williams of the Sacramento Kings is often accused of going brain-dead on the court. But you’d be confused, too, if every time you took a jump shot, you were wondering when “Rules of Engagement, Part II” was going to film, under your stage name Guy Pearce.

* The XFL is done? Darn. I was just going to sit down and watch a game.

* Just once, JUST ONCE, I want to see the people who waste so much of our time hyping a stupid idea — like the XFL — do the same amount of talking when the thing goes belly up.

* Suddenly, you can’t find Vince McMahon. You couldn’t shut him up five months ago.

* Speaking of audience, if the NBA really wanted to build its numbers, it would start the Lakers-Kings games at 6 p.m. Pacific, 9 p.m. Eastern, so the whole country could watch. The show that Shaq and Kobe are putting on is enough to draw even the most cynical basketball fan back into the tent.

* And Rick Fox is obviously more than a pretty face. He’s a helluva defender.

* Lemme get this straight: Chris Webber wants to leave Sacramento — where they love him, where he can make the most money, where housing is cheap, and where there is little traffic and perfect weather — so that he can play for less money, more taxes, maddening traffic, outrageous home prices, snow, humidity and the most fickle fans in the world in New York City?

* Oh, right. The clubs stay open later. Silly me.

* So here’s the question: Can we get the Tigers to play the Rangers 150 more times?

* You think being a Tigers fan is tough? Imagine a Texas season-ticket-holder right about now.

* I guess Johnny Oates wasn’t the problem.

* Speaking of baseball, I don’t care if it “officially” counted, 20 strikeouts by Randy Johnson is damn impressive.

* Just checking something here. I was thinking of going for a car ride. Is Hasim Rahman on the road?

* Chris Osgood has a lot of time on his hands. Enough to shave the beard, fly to Hollywood and resume his acting career in “Green Mile II,” under his stage name, David Morse.

* Is there any other postseason in any other sport that is altered by injury as much as NHL hockey?

* I mean, Steve Yzerman breaks his ankle. Brendan Shanahan breaks a foot. Peter Forsberg spits up blood and has his spleen removed.

* Is it NHL, or “ER”?

* So Charles Barkley is moving in with Michael Jordan to train for a comeback? One question: Who’s buying groceries?

* This is the same Michael Jordan who retired to spend more time with his wife and kids? There’ll be lots of family meetings now — around the refrigerator, before Charles wakes up.

* It’s almost tip-off time. Do you know where your Derrick Coleman is?

* Fans keep talking about the amazing workload of Mario Lemieux, who is both superstar and owner. But don’t forget, he still has his third career, in Hollywood, where he goes by the name Randy Quaid.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com. Catch “Albom in the Afternoon” 3-6 p.m. weekdays on WJR-AM (760) and simulcast on MSNBC 3-5 p.m.

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