By Gregg Hoffmann Special to Published Feb 05, 2001 at 8:00 AM

Glenn Robinson and Ray Allen made the All Star team for the second straight season, and Sam Cassell didn't.

That was a deadly combination for the Milwaukee Bucks last season, as the Big 3's egos got in the way of team basketball. The Bucks went into a slump that almost cost them a playoff spot.

Could that happen again this season? Not according to two of the three members of the Big 3.

"I'll probably never make the All Star team," Cassell said last week. "I guess I'm the Rod Strickland of this century. He was averaging double-double one season and didn't make the All Star team.

"I don't care if people don't like me. I'm focused on winning. Nothing takes the place of a championship. This year, I'm thinking championship."

If Cassell sticks to his word, it's good news for Bucks' fans. Cassell is the guy who makes the Bucks go. He's the guy who gets the ball to Allen, Robinson, Tim Thomas and the others.

"I think we learned from last season," Robinson said. "I think we saw what can happen. We're focused on winning this year. We know now that if you win the individual recognition comes."

Coach George Karl hopes his players' words match their performances after the All Star break. "I think a lot of teams suffer through some All Star flu," Karl said. "Some go on vacation early. Others have trouble coming back.

"We had a case of that flu last year. I hope they learned from it and keep playing well."

The All Star game is this coming Sunday in Washington D.C. The Bucks play Sacramento Tuesday night at the Bradley Center and wrap up action for the All Star break at Boston Wednesday. They get right back into the fire after the break when the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the best record in the NBA, come to the Bradley Center next Tuesday.

Pro Football Buzz

This column won't deal with football very often since the "local" NFL team is a couple hours north of Milwaukee. But, I could hardly pass up the chance to comment on the irony of the Mark Chmura verdict pre-empting the XFL opener on local TV Saturday night.

Channel 4 appropriately cut into the XFL game when the jury brought in its not guilty verdict. The XFL had to play second fiddle to the real X-rated football story in Wisconsin.

The real irony of the Chmura pre-emption of the XFL is that new league is marketing the WWF-style attitude, which when carried to extremes can lead to cases like that of Chmura, Rae Carruth, Ray Lewis and others.

Sportsmanship, humility, teamwork and the other worthy lessons of football and other sports are virtually taboo. It's about macho, in-your-face, trash-talking, dumb-downed, sexist, lowest-common-denominator "entertainment."

I think I saw a better caliber of football when I covered the Racine Raiders and Delavan Red Devils semi-pro teams years ago. But, the XFL is less worried about the level of football than it is about marketing the WWF "attitude."

-- Turning to one other football note, if Ron Wolf really thought he was going to leave the Packers as far back as 1998 - which at least some media outlets reported - why didn't he work out a deal that might have kept Mike Holmgren in Green Bay?

Wolf could have moved upstairs to a president of football operations post while Holmgren learned the ropes as GM and remained as coach. It might have turned out better for everybody. Now Packers' fans can only hope the other Mike is up to the challenge of both jobs.

Brewers Buzz

It took only six hours for the Brewers to sell out the Fri., March 30 exhibition game last Saturday. The club also drew 3,000 lottery winners who will receive tickets to the real opener of Miller Park opener on Fri., April 6.

More than 100,000 lottery postcards were submitted for the regular season opener. The Brewers had intended to draw more winners, but season ticket sales have gone so well that many of the opener seats already were sold.

-- A Spring Outlook series has started on The Brew Crew Review. Looks already have been taken at the pitching, catching and infield. For outlooks of the outfield, bench and managing/coaching, go to Spring training starts Wed., Feb. 14, in Maryvale, Arizona.

-- Fans would like to see practically anybody play third base other than Jose Hernandez, according to a recent poll on the Review. Only 7.3% of the voters cast their ballots for Hernandez, who was the regular at third for much of last season. Dean Palmer, who plays for Detroit, was the top vote-getter of the choices offered at 26%.

Manager Davey Lopes has said he probably will platoon Hernandez at third with Tyler Houston, who received 20.8% of the votes, if the Brewers don't trade for another player at the hot corner.

-- For the second straight week, Milwaukee lost a giant who had ties to the local sports scene. Ben Barkin was best known in the community as the father of the Circus Parade, a one-time top-notch promoter and ad man and a civic leader, but he also was part owner of the Brewers. He, like Al McGuire, who died the previous week, will be missed.

Admirals Buzz

The Admirals ended January with a 7-3-1 record and won their first couple games of February. The improved play has moved them within a few points of the teams currently holding down playoff spots in the IHL. The Admirals also recently received help when Nashville reassigned center Randy Rabitaille and defenseman Alexandre Boikov to Milwaukee.

Wave Buzz

Mia Hamm and her friends returned to Milwaukee for the fourth straight year Sunday for the Garrett Game after the Wave played the Wichita Wings. If you aren't aware of the game, it's named after Hamm's brother, who died from bone marrow disease.

Proceeds from the game go to bone marrow research through the Mia Hamm foundation and the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Foundation. Hamm's national team this year also included several players from the 2000 Olympic silver-medalist U.S. team.

Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, publishes The Brew Crew Review at and is a senior lecturer in journalism and mass communication at UWM. He also is the author of "Down in the Valley: The History of Milwaukee County Stadium."

Gregg Hoffmann Special to
Gregg Hoffmann is a veteran journalist, author and publisher of Midwest Diamond Report and Old School Collectibles Web sites. Hoffmann, a retired senior lecturer in journalism at UWM, writes The State Sports Buzz and Beyond Milwaukee on a monthly basis for OMC.