Air Jordans for Everybody!

Bill Clinton, the new night clerk at Motel 6, decreed last week that for the foreseeable future, not one federal nickel will be spent on human cloning research. And he asked privately funded geneticists to voluntarily stop such tinkering down in the lab.

What can the man be thinking?
Just when the world is in sore need of more spokespeople, consultants and bureaucrats, our leader passes up the opportunity to create future platoons of Federico Penas and Leon Panettas. Just when his party is running short of funds again, he blows his chance to Xerox the fat-cat contributors who haven't gotten him into hot water.

Get a clue, Mr. President. Cloning is where it's at. Let the philosophers and theologians and scientists continue their flimsy little debate on bio-ethics. Let Time magazine splash Dolly the Sheep and her woolly sibling-mom on the cover and worry for ten or twelve pages inside about the implications. Listen, Bill. What you oughta do, and soon, is take the bull (or the goat) by the horns and make two or three of him.

Likewise, Ken Griffey Jr. And Joe Frazier. And Steffi Graf.
Think of it. With a little encouragement from the Oval Office, lunatic baseball fans who've always wondered what would happen if the 1927 Yankees and 1975 Reds played each other in the World Series could finally get an answer. Surely there's a hank o' hair or a hunk o' bone that once belonged to Babe Ruth lying around the South Bronx somewhere. That's all Dr. Frankenstein would need to manufacture an entire lot of the Sultan of Swat. As for the Big Red Machine, Pete Rose and Tony Perez are still with us, and they probably wouldn't mind giving up a few drops of blood or some skin off their nose in order to one day watch themselves, lean and strong once again, smash a couple of line drives past Lou Gehrig at first.

There are many other possibilities, of course. In last year's movie comedy Multiplicity, Michael Keaton and three clones with clashing personalities vied for dominance and, to complicating effect, slept with the same wife. No such problems would likely arise on the U.S. 4 x 400 relay team in, say, the 2020 Olympics. Michael Johnson would simply blow past everyone in the first 400 meters and pass the baton to Michael Johnson, who would hand off to Michael Johnson and, for the anchor leg, give it to Michael Johnson. Try keeping up with those guys, Czech Republic.

Think most Super Bowls are disappointing? Get the gene-splicers going full-tilt, and before you know it, you've got brand-new versions of Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and the 1966 Packers, primed to do battle with Don Shula's undefeated 1973 Miami Dolphins. Don't like that matchup? How about Mean Joe Greene's Pittsburgh Steelers of the Seventies versus the Joe Montana-Jerry Rice 49ers? And to make things really interesting in the NFL, why not run off thirty copies of Vince Lombardi and give one to each team--even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. "Winning isn't the only thing," the assorted Vinces could then declare. "It's everybody's thing."

Would you like to see Billie Jean King play Martina Navratilova in the ladies' final at Wimbledon? Done deal. But be sure to stick around for the men: Bjorn Borg is going to try his famous topspin against the mighty serve of Big Bill Tilden. You should have been here earlier in the week: John McEnroe I got into a really vile shouting match with John McEnroe II. The London tabloids, of course, splashed "DOUBLE FAULT!" all over page one.

I don't know about you, but I wouldn't mind running out to Belmont Park one Saturday afternoon three or four years from now to watch the big race--although it might be a tough one to handicap. What with Whirlaway, John Henry, Secretariat, Cigar, Affirmed, Man O'War and--count 'em--three Citations going to the post, it would be hard figuring out the exacta. By the way, which of the Eddie Arcaros will out-think the other Eddies while galloping down the backstretch? Do you like the Willie Shoemaker with Gallant Fox underneath him, or the Willie Shoemaker who's riding Seattle Slew?

Let us herald the age when the words "Minnesota Twins" will take on a new meaning, when baseball teams will manufacture mobs of Ty Cobbs, and Waynes' World will mean 99 separate Gretzkys--wearing jerseys numbered 99.1, 99.2, 99.3 and so forth. Hey, Rockies: Get a fresh set of Bichettes every year. And hello, St. Louis: Be on the lookout for Multiple Musial--"Stan: 'The Man' for All Seasons."

Listen. The guys really in the catbird seats once cloning gets up into fifth gear will be the ticket scalpers working Caesars Palace the night of the Muhammad Ali-Rocky Marciano championship fight. Who knows? With Sugar Ray Robinson facing Sugar Ray Leonard on the undercard, ringside seats might go for twenty to thirty thousand a copy, if you'll pardon the expression. Arrive early, though: You won't want to miss a second of the ten-round prelim between Joe Louis and Mike Tyson.

While we're rooting around here in 21st-century science's department of redundancy department, shouldn't we also mention the possibilities of redemption? Any old cloner can stamp out knockoffs of Ozzie Smith like G.I. Joe toys. Even a bio-hack can probably produce factory-fresh John Elways as quickly as Honda Civics. A bit of research might even lead the workaday photocopier to outfielder John Paciorek, the older brother of journeyman Tom Paciorek. John P. played just one game in the major leagues, in 1963, for the Houston Astros. But what a day he had--three hits in three at-bats, along with two bases-on-balls. He scored four runs and drove in three more. Who wouldn't want to reproduce a player with a 1.000 batting average?

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