Mesmerizing focus: Television, with its ability to move in close and parse the action, has certainly brought the skills of players like Jordan into mesmerizing focus. But in spite of the tube, or perhaps because of it, celebrity heroes now appear to be more fleeting and fragmented, like the culture they come out of. Janet Harris, a professor in the department of physical education at the University of North Carolina, asked children and adolescents whom they most want to be like. "They had a lot of trouble answering," she says. "Most identified no one person, but several people with different characteristics. We or ended up not even using the data." As part of her study, to be released in her forthcoming book, "Athletes and the American Hero Dilemma," Harris analyzed popularity lists published in the World Almanac and found most of those selected remained on the list only a year or two. (Jordan, an exception, hung in for six, until the last time the list was published.) When a star stumbles, it's so widely and avidly reported now that even the very young can hardly avoid hearing about it. But the University of Georgia's Fine, for one, believes such exposure gives kids a more accurate idea of adults and society in general. "This is what adults are," says Fine. "One of the things kids have to learn is to make decisions about what the world is like and then make decisions on how to fit into that world." That's a lesson some of our more refractory superstars might do well to ponder, too.