- Max Klinger
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Creaky shock rocker Alice Cooper has put out over 30 albums, been touring for over 40 years and his fans include everyone from Bob Dylan to Salvador Dali. But did you know he's a huge sports fan, too? OK, maybe you did. In honor of the Dbacks, we got him on the phone to talk baseball, the NBA Finals and Kenny G's short game.
The Mag: You are a big Diamondbacks and Tigers fan, how did you get into baseball?
Alice Cooper: Baseball was my first love. I grew up in Detroit and every summer when the sun came up there'd be eight kids knockin' on my door waiting for me to join them on the field. In 1950's Detroit, the city streets were divided into nationalities and that's how are teams were broken up. One week we'd play the Italians, then the Irish, then the black kids...
Which street were you on?
I was on the Polish street. I'm not even Polish, but that was the street I lived on so that's who I played with. I was a good hitter too and I was a hawk in left field. But I didn't have an arm and I only weighed about a hundred pounds so as a freshman I got cut from the high school team the same year they won a state championship.
So are you more of a Diamondbacks fan or a Tigers fan?
I can't make that decision publicly. Since I live in Phoenix I obviously attend more D-backs games, but I still follow the Tigers. The D-backs have a fun team this year. Whenever you've got a bunch of young guys that like playing together they have the potential to do big things.
How do you think the two teams match up right now?
The Tigers are in last place, but mark my words, by the end of May they'll be either in first or tied for first in the Central. On paper their hitting is stacked like the Yankees, they just had a bad month. But Arizona's got the pitching and that's what it takes to win big series.
So if they're both in the World Series this year who will you root for?
I can't say. I'd make too many enemies.
You're also a big NBA fan, what do you think the most interesting storyline of this playoffs is?
I would have said the Celtics, but the trouble they had with the Hawks changed my mind. Celtics/Lakers is a classic story, but I think Pistons/Lakers would be a better match up. The Lakers are too strong offensively for everyone in the West, but the Pistons have that tough defense, physicality and teamwork. I'd say the story of this years playoffs is ultimately going to be Detroit.
You were in high school in Phoenix in the '60s when the Suns came to town as an expansion team. Were you a fan back then?
I've been a fan from the very beginning, for about 40 years.
Who are your top-3 Suns players ever?
Paul Westphal, Tom Chambers, and KJ [Kevin Johnson]. That's a tough question though and I don't think you can leave Danny Ainge or Dan Majerle out of the discussion. Those guys were pure snipers. That '93 team had like 4 snipers on the floor at all times.
Did you like D'Antoni as a coach and who would you like to see replace him?
I liked D'Antoni, but I wouldn't mind seeing Dan Majerle coach. He thinks like a player. He's an iron man. He sees the game differently the way that Westphal used to see the game, I've always kind of liked the idea of a player-coach. I would also like to see Barkley out there on the floor. I can't think of a more spectacular coach in the league. Every night would be a production. It would be the most entertaining season of basketball ever.
You've been playing golf for a long time and have even written a golf manual, how many days are you playing a week now?
Six days a week. Right now I'm playing with a 4 handicap. I use a lot of high-loft clubs so I probably hit the green 95% of the time.
After all the Pro-Am's and celebrity golf tournaments you've played in who's the toughest non-professional you've ever played with?
Kenny G is my nemesis in that circuit. It's come down to the final hole between him and I many times. Also, Dweezil Zappa has got a great shot. And Glen Campbell too. He could get up and down out of a garbage can.
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