When Boston Celtics Coach K.C. Jones gathered the team at midcourt for the start of practice Thursday morning, he offered to cancel the workout if anyone could make a basket from the halfcourt line.
Larry Bird promptly grabbed a ball, went to halfcourt and let it fly. Swish. All net. Practice was over at 11:10 a.m.
"Just a buster," Bird said. "A practice-buster. Nobody wants to practice today, anyway. They're tired."
Dept. of Incidental Information: Pitcher Sid Fernandez of the New York Mets lives on Awaawaanoa Place in Honolulu.
"No wonder I don't get any mail," he says.
Trivia Time: Name the only coach in National Basketball Assn. history who has won 60 or more games in a season with teams in two different cities. (Answer below.)
It wasn't funny at the time, but Thomas Hearns can finally joke about the utter futility of trying to deal with Marvelous Marvin Hagler in their classic battle last year at Las Vegas.
Hearns told John Ed Bradley of the Washington Post: "By the third round, I'd already broken my right hand, and my legs were spent. I was thinking, 'You've given it all you've got and the man keeps coming. What do you do now, Thomas Hearns? You run.'
"That hit my mind, to run. But my legs talked to me and said, 'Nope. You can't do it. Tommy, you're all alone. You can't go anywhere.' "
He added: "I've hit other fighters with punches that made them wiggle and dance, but with a man like Hagler, you could hit him with a baseball bat and he'd keep coming. You want to drop that bat and go, because there he is, taking everything, starting it all over again. Then the legs, both of them, were talking at the same time. They're both exhausted. When they check out, they check out together."
Denver Nuggets Coach Doug Moe, during a recent game, sat Wayne Cooper down and berated the center for his poor play.
Then Moe said, "Coop, don't be mad at me . . . Aw right, go ahead and be mad at me . . . but don't be mad at me tomorrow . . . Aw right, go ahead and be mad at me tomorrow . . . But don't be mad at me the next day, we've got a game."
It was the chance LaSchelle Tarver had long been waiting for, and he was determined to make an impression. He did.
Tarver, 27, is an outfielder acquired by the Boston Red Sox in a multiplayer deal with the New York Mets last November. In Friday's exhibition game between the Red Sox and the Detroit Tigers, he came to the plate in the ninth inning with two men on base and the Red Sox trailing, 3-0. There were no outs.
He hit into a triple play. Tigers win, 3-0.
Tom Weiskopf says: "I still think if Jack Nicklaus had only one thing to do, play golf, he would still be the dominant player in the game. He's that much better than anyone else."
That recalls the line by Chi Chi Rodriguez when Nicklaus, despite a reduced schedule, was still winning big: "Jack Nicklaus has become a legend in his spare time."
Trivia Answer: K.C. Jones. In 1974-75, he coached the Washington Bullets to a 60-22 record. In his two seasons at Boston, the Celtics have been 62-20 and 63-19.
Colin Patterson of the Calgary Flames, after getting two goals and an assist in one period: "I haven't had a period like that since the peewee leagues. I don't want to talk about it too much, but my book is coming out soon."