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HEROES & ZEROES

John Paxson and the Chicago Bulls gave Jennifer Hebda the game ball before Wednesday night's NBA Finals encounter with Phoenix. The 17-year-old was comatose just four months ago after a traffic accident. A week ago, her mother asked her what she thought of Paxson, her favorite player. "Hot," Jennifer said _ the first word she'd spoken in six months. When the Bulls heard she was a fan, they invited her to the game and gave her the red-carpet treatment. Paxson said he'll visit her when the series is over.

The Women's Tennis Association voted unanimously to bar Jim Pierce, father of tennis pro Mary Pierce, from all matches this year because of his "inappropriate behavior" at the French Open. Why limit it to tennis? If the WTA can do it, why not Little League?

Buffalo Sabres goalie Grant Fuhr will serve as honorary chairman of a charity golf tournament at the country club that earlier denied him membership, purportedly because he is black.

NBC chose its telecast of the LPGA's championship from Bethesda, Md., last weekend to show a tribute of _ no, not one of the ladies, past or present. It honored commentator Johnny Miller's triumph 20 years ago in the U.S. Open. Talk about the old boys' network.

Major-league baseball still is protecting itself from Pete Rose, announcing that his press-box appearances during a game at Riverfront Stadium violated his lifetime suspension. Hey, guys, Pete's been a lot cleaner than your game lately. Lay off and try getting rid of your Wrestlemania image.

The World Roller Hockey League. The season's already over. No, you didn't miss it. All the games were played in Orlando (there are no cities, just, umm, teams) but won't be televised by ESPN until later this month and part of July. Roller Derby with goalies. Is this why we're getting ESPN2?

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