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Morning Briefing

The Lakers Lacking in Muscle? No Way, According to Some

March 12, 1986

Pat Williams, general manager of the Philadelphia 76ers, theorized last week that his team had a better chance than the Lakers of stopping the Boston Celtics because it was more physical.

So what happened when the Denver Nuggets picked an all-cheap shot team the other day? Two Lakers got a call, and nary a 76er was picked.

The team: Maurice Lucas of the Lakers, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer of Detroit, Ricky Sobers of Seattle, and a three-way tie among Jeff Ruland of Washington, Marc Iavoroni of Utah and Steve Johnson of San Antonio. Lucas, a unanimous choice, was named captain.

Among the second-stringers was Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

"Kareem's not dirty, but he throws one of the worst elbows in the league when he gets mad," one of the Nuggets told Buddy Martin of the Denver Post. "And the worst thing he does that they never call is when he comes across the lane and you put your body against him, he hooks you with his elbow."

The Nuggets even cast a vote for one of their own, Bill Hanzlik, but he protested.

"I'm not the cheap-shot-er," said Hanzlik, "I'm the cheap-shot-ee. They take one look at my body and say, 'What's a skinny white boy like you doing out here?' "

Trivia Time: He's a bench-warmer now, but he started on the University of Colorado team that played in the first NIT championship game in history in New York. Who is it? (Answer below.)

Now-it-can-be-told dept.: Bob Arum, co-promoter of the Thrilla in Manila between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier, told Dave Anderson of the New York Times that several months later he was invited back by Imelda Marcos, wife of the president, to establish some gambling casinos in the Philippines.

"We worked out a deal where the profits from six hotel casinos would be split 60% for us, with Imelda getting the other 40%," Arum said. "But then Marcos himself found out about our deal and we got the word we had to make a deal with him, too.

"So we agreed to give him 40% and keep 20%, which was still a bonanza. But when Imelda found out about that, she called off the whole thing."

What kind of a guy is Billy Sample of the New York Yankees? When he was with the Texas Rangers, he said: "I'm like Daffy Duck in the cartoons. I'm black, I've got big feet and I'm always bitching."

New Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi was called the Schnozz because of his big nose, and he was remembered in the 1939 World Series for his big snooze.

In the 10th inning of Game 4 between Cincinnati and the New York Yankees, Lombardi failed to hold a throw from right fielder Ival Goodman when Charlie Keller crashed into him and scored.

Lombardi, knocked flat by Keller, lay stunned at the plate as Joe DiMaggio, whose single had been misplayed by Goodman, came around to score, sliding into home plate around the reclining Lombardi. The Yankees won the game, 7-4, to sweep the series in four games.

Trivia Answer: Supreme Court Justice Byron (Whizzer) White, who gained greater fame as an All-American halfback. White scored 10 points as Colorado lost to Temple, 60-36, in the 1937-38 NIT final.


Roy Smalley of the Minnesota Twins, on teammate Mickey Hatcher, the club's designated flake: "He's the first guy ever to make the majors on one brain cell."

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