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Morning Briefing

Chamberlain Takes a Few Shots

May 09, 1987

They haven't been able to get Wilt Chamberlain back to Philadelphia to have his number retired, and he's more reluctant than ever after watching the Julius Erving farewell tour.

"It bored me to tears, sitting there before every game, watching a 25-minute ceremony to Doctor J," Chamberlain told Stan Hochman of the Philadelphia Daily News.

"So, to watch a guy who's been passe for two decades," he said, referring to himself, "who would want to watch that pageantry?"

Chamberlain felt less than flattered after watching the final ceremonies for Erving in Philadelphia. That's when Dr. J spoke of establishing a family tradition at the Spectrum.

"What did he say, that my number belongs up there alongside Steve Mix's?" said Chamberlain. "Who's Steve Mix? Has it come to that, me getting mentioned in the same breath as Steve Mix?"

Add Wilt: "Why is it," he said, "that when my records are broken now, there's such a fuss made? And when I set those records, there was so little fuss made?

"Michael Jordan gets 3,000 points in one season and guys are calling me up, asking me how I feel about it?

"Did any of those writers think about the fact that in those days we played 72 games, and now they play 82 games?"

Note: In 1959-60, Chamberlain's first season, the NBA played 75 games, and Chamberlain was in 72. The next year, the league went to 79 games, and the following year it went to 80 games.

As a culmination of Cinco de Mayo week, Los Alamitos Race Course has two promotions going tonight. The first involves the participation of a group called Boxers Against Alcohol and Drugs. The second is a special price of $1 for margaritas and Mexican beer.

Think about it.

Trivia Time: In the movie, "Pride of the Yankees," in which Gary Cooper played Lou Gehrig, who played Babe Ruth? (Answer below.)

Would-you-believe-it Dept.: Lance Parrish, who turned down a $1-million offer from Detroit and went to Philadelphia, had only 3 homers and 13 RBIs through Thursday's games. His replacement in Detroit, Matt Nokes, who earns $68,000, had 5 homers and 18 RBIs.

Kansas City Royals Manager Billy Gardner, one-time owner of the Bat Rack in New London, Conn., tells why he no longer is in the bar business: "I decided to get out when my bartender was driving a Caddy and I was driving a Chevy."

He has yet to play a game, but wide receiver Ricky Nattiel from Florida already has established himself as the fastest Denver Bronco in history.

In time trials this week, Nattiel twice beat ex-Tennessee wide receiver Sam Graddy, a member of the gold medal-winning U.S. 400-meter relay team in the 1984 Olympics.

Nattiel's best time of 4.35 seconds broke the team record of 4.36 set by wide receiver Vance Johnson, a former NCAA long jump champion at the University of Arizona.

Former Portland Trail Blazers trainer Ron Culp, on dealing with Walter Berry before the rookie forward was dealt to San Antonio: "We had virtually no communication. I was yes-and-no'd to death. I used to work in the funeral industry, and I got better response from some of the corpses."

Trivia Answer: Babe Ruth.

Quotebook

Denver Nuggets announcer Al Albert, on a Laker lineup of Kurt Rambis, Billy Thompson, Mike Smrek, Wes Matthews and Adrian Branch in the final minutes of a playoff blowout: "Do you realize that in two years this is the starting lineup for the Charlotte Spirit?"

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