And lacrosse, Brown's other sport, doesn't count.

In basketball, which does count, Jordan didn't win his first NBA championship for five years--until he got a winning coach, Phil Jackson.

Jordan doubled as a baseball player but couldn't hit the ball, failing where the greatest active athlete, football player Deion Sanders, succeeded.

Magic Johnson, a point guard who as a rookie turned center for a day to win his first NBA championship, was the basketball player of the century.

But as an athlete, nobody is close to Babe Ruth.

* * * *

Redskins Run Themselves Down

In the NFL's game of the week, the Washington Redskins lost to the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, 24-21, for these five reasons:

• After the league's leading rusher, Stephen Davis, had hustled the Redskins into a 13-10 halftime lead, he missed the second half with a foot injury, terminating a duel that he and Redskins passer Brad Johnson had been winning against passer Peyton Manning and runner Edgerrin James of the Colts.

• Johnson was allowed to throw only four first-down passes in the first 55 minutes. He completed three of the four, one for the touchdown that kept Washington ahead for three quarters.

• Because the Redskins' new owner, Daniel M. Snyder, continues to interfere in the coaching there--reportedly learning in interviews with his offensive linemen last week that, like all offensive linemen, they like to run the ball--Washington's coaches continued to call running plays on the important downs of the second half.

• What beat them was running to nowhere with second-stringer Skip Hicks.

• Setting up Indianapolis' two winning touchdowns, the key Redskins play was a run that failed on third and three at the Colts 33.

The odds against any third-and-three run there are roughly 100 to 1.

* * * *

Kicking is a Hit-or-Miss Job

On a Miami afternoon when the field-goal kickers scored all the points for both sides, the Dolphins escaped with a 12-9 win Sunday after San Diego's John Carney blew a makable last-second kick.

That's a reminder that when football fans or media people enthuse over a kicker--any kicker--they often hear something like this from football players:

"Love him while you can, because someday he'll break your heart.''

But how could San Diego hold Dan Marino without a touchdown?