The No. 84 jersey was in Pennsylvania ValleyDawgs general manager Mike Sweet's car trunk for weeks, buried by some team logo adorned T-shirts and other odds and ends.

It finally saw the light of day Thursday evening.

Randy Moss, a Pro Bowl participant in each of his three seasons as a No. 84-wearing wide receiver with the NFL's Minnesota Vikings, made his professional basketball league debut as member of the ValleyDawgs in their 113-112 victory over the Long Island Surf at Stabler Arena.

Moss, who last year played in the NBA-sponsored L.A. Summer League, played 21:10 of the game's 48 minutes and finished with seven points, four rebounds, two assists and blocked one shot. He also committed four turnovers.

ValleyDawgs coach Darryl Dawkins gave Moss a passing grade, and allowed that the football player "possibly" has a future in basketball.

"If Master P can play, he can play," Dawkins said, a reference to the rap musician who logged time in the Charlotte Hornets' training camp.

Dawkins indicated Moss will play another game for the ValleyDawgs. But with the Vikings scheduled to have a June 4-7 minicamp and the 'Dawgs on the road for six games before then, it appears unlikely that will occur at Stabler.

To be certain, Moss debuting in the USBL was not like Michael Jordan making his NBA debut.

It was more like Jordan making his minor-league baseball debut the season he batted .202 with the Class-AA Birmingham Barons on the way to a .252 in the Arizona Fall League and a return to the NBA.

It brought out the curious.

Moss attracted the team's biggest crowd since opening night. Team officials said 4,349 of the 5,013 people who purchased tickets to the game showed up.

Among the spectators was Ed Klemm, who was taking in his first ValleyDawgs game because his son, 10-year-old Patrick, received tickets at school as part of an academic incentive program sponsored by the team.

"I thought for a quarter, he looked like a nervous millionaire," Klemm said. "But then I think he got more comfortable. The other players seemed to treat him like any other player but I'm sure they'll be scrambling for an autograph for him."

Mike Glass, an Allentown teen wearing a No. 84 Vikings jersey, attended his first ValleyDawgs game because of Moss.

"Unbelievable," Glass said of the opportunity to see one of his favorite team's star players up close. "For his first game, he played great. You can see the athletic talent."

Klemm, who regularly attends Lehigh University men's basketball games at Stabler, and Glass said they would be back.

That was music to Sweet's ears.

"It gives us name recognition," Sweet said. "We like to get people in here to show them the quality of basketball and quality of entertainment we have. It helps showcase us to people."

Average fans were not the only curious people who were attracted to Stabler.

Philadelphia Eagles fullback Cecil Martin, who already was asked to attend the game by one of the ValleyDawgs' sponsors, needed little coaxing after learning Moss would play.

"No, I've never seen him play before," Martin said. "I got to see some good basketball and see one of my fellow players from the NFL.

"I thought he was very good."

The ValleyDawgs issued 76 media credentials, including at least three for reporters from New York newspapers. It attracted commentary in advance from around the country, including this from Associated Press national columnist Jim Litke: "The NFL is packed with guys who think they could play in the NBA and vice versa. Most of them get over it."

But Moss had nothing to say to the media.

ValleyDawgs officials said during the game they would try to get Moss to talk to the media, but Moss was escorted from Stabler by a police officer and ValleyDawgs personnel. Moss signed a few autographs, but did not participate in the ValleyDawgs' on-court autograph session.

"He has a plane to catch right away," Sweet said.

The crowd seeking a look at Moss undoubtedly would have been closer to filling Stabler's 5,800-seats had Moss not missed his first pro basketball practice and press conference Wednesday night because of travel problems.

That practice no-show cast some doubt as to whether Moss was going to show up Thursday and created speculation he was having second thoughts about jeopardizing his NFL future and earnings by playing in a league where the average player makes $500 a week. Or that perhaps he was using the appearance as leverage in on-going contract extension talks with the Vikings, who are due to pay Moss $3.5 million for the final season of his contract in 2001.

But the potential for injury apparently does not bother the Vikings too much. They reportedly gave their blessing to Moss playing in the USBL. Last season, Minnesota coach Dennis Green even attended one of Moss' L.A. Summer League games.