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Committed to Teetotal, Celtics Were Overdue for Boston Beer Party

June 16, 1986|SCOTT OSTLER

Weighty questions to ponder while waiting for the toast to burn . . .

What kind of team is the Boston Celtics?

Several Celtics, including Larry Bird, Bill Walton, Kevin McHale and Jerry Sichting, swore off beer for the last 10 weeks of the NBA season.

It was Walton's idea to drink no more beer "until we win the title."

McHale went along with the idea, with some reservation, saying to Walton, "We're going to win it this year, aren't we?"

Some teams win titles because they're hungry. The Celtics were thirsty.

This is not to suggest that the Celtics won the NBA championship because their bodies were cleansed of demon alcohol. Although, against a younger, faster team such as the Rockets, every little edge helps.

The Celtics won because of the level of their dedication. Find another team in any sport where half the guys will give up beer, or any other favorite drug, for 10 weeks, as a somewhat symbolic gesture of dedication.

Also, the Celtics won because they had Larry Bird.

Can Wade Boggs hit .400 for an entire season?

He already has, sort of.

A Boston sportswriter figured out that Boggs, in the 162 games he played starting in June of '85 and ending June 8, 1986, had 254 hits in 635 at bats, a batting average of .400.

Where have all the rookies gone?

The NFL held its college draft April 29. Thirty-six days later, of the 336 players drafted, a total of six had been signed.

"This is the year of the snail," said sports attorney Leigh Steinberg, referring to the slow negotiations, not the foot speed of the rookies.

Why is business so slow? The league is trying to roll back salaries. The NFL's TV contract expires after the '86 season and there is uncertainty about the money a new deal will bring since the networks say they're losing money on pro football. Under the current one, each NFL team will get $17 million this season. Also, the collective bargaining agreement is up at the end of the '86 season and the players will be pushing for ways to get a bigger cut of the action.

The latest superstar to put his future in Steinberg's hands, incidentally, is Jonathan Leigh Steinberg, born to Leigh's wife Lucy last Thursday.

"Great," said former UCLA kicker John Lee, a Steinberg client, when he heard the new kid's name. "A Korean Jewish baby."

Whatever happened to Ralph Sampson?

Some say that Rocket Ralph, after decisioning Jerry Sichting in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, decided to retire undefeated.

Others say that Sampson fell victim to the Boston mystique. After the Celtics wrapped up the series in Game 6 in the Boston Garden, Sampson summed it all up about as well as anyone when he said, "That floor is too old."

Indeed, what other floor has cracks deep enough to swallow up a 7-4 power forward?

Can the USFL break the NFL?

True sports fans are up each day long before dawn to fetch their newspaper and read the latest exciting happenings in the USFL vs. NFL trial. Personally, I'm sleeping in. I can wait for the motion picture.

Sources say the only way the USFL can survive is by winning the trial convincingly and decisively. Otherwise, the NFL will simply starve out the upstart league by appealing any judgment over and over, for years and years.

Where, exactly, did Bill Walton go after the Celtics' victory?

Boston Globe headline: "Walton is Feeling on Top of the World."

Boston Herald headline: "Walton Climbs to Heaven."

I'm not sure where Walton went, but he took a six-pack with him.

Will Ralph Sampson ever win a championship of any kind?

Not until he either gets a better fight manager or gets himself traded to the Lakers.

If Jerry Buss has any money left to spend, or any strings left to pull, he'll do what he's been wanting to do for years--get Ralph.

Working in the post, with motivation and guidance and assists provided by Earvin Johnson, Sampson would become all-world and the Lakers would win another title.

Is that Carl Lewis under that mountain of manure?


Lewis, the star of the 1984 Olympics, has launched his acting career. Starting at the bottom, you might say. According to an item in Ultrasport magazine, Lewis plays a cop in the film "Dirty Laundry." In his big scene, Lewis is driving a convertible and gets caught behind a dump truck loaded with manure. The dump truck dumps and Lewis gets buried.

I hope the director was able to bring out Lewis' acting instincts.

"OK, quiet on the set. Take 19. Cue the dump truck. This time, Carl, don't hold back, let me see some emotion."

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