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Morning Briefing

There's a Hook in Magic's Story

June 11, 1987

Magic Johnson keeps telling everyone how he discovered a sky hook this season with the help of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, but don't tell that to Julius Erving. Or Darryl Dawkins. Or any of the other Philadelphia 76ers he torched for 42 points as a rookie in Game 6 of the 1979-80 NBA finals.

From Scott Ostler's story on the game, which Abdul-Jabbar missed with an injury: "Magic played center, forward and guard in the first quarter alone, and he scored 13 points, on such shots as a three-point drive on Dawkins and a sky hook."

Yes, a sky hook. Whatever it takes.

Add Magic: Revealing how he's borrowed from the stars of the past, he told Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post: "Every time I hear the kids on the playgrounds--'I'm Magic . . . No, I'm Magic'--it takes me back. It almost makes you want to cry because I did that, too. Dave Bing and Wilt Chamberlain were my idols, and I enjoyed the Big O, too. I loved Wilt because my father loved Wilt, and my father is the one I've patterned myself after. We'd watch the games on TV, and every time somebody would do something special, my brother and I would be out on that court fighting: 'I'm Earl Monroe . . . No, I'm the Pearl.' "

Add Lakers: Mychal Thompson, on the rough play in Game 4: "Now I know how Pinklon Thomas felt."

For What It's Worth: On Saturday, Sachio Kinugasa of the Hiroshima Carp is due to play in his 2,131st consecutive game, surpassing Lou Gehrig's record of 2,130. Kinugasa, 40-year-old third baseman, hit his 494th home run on Tuesday, surpassing Gehrig's total of 493.

Trivia Time: Who is the only pitcher since Sandy Koufax to win 20 games for the Dodgers more than once? (Answer in column 2.)

Said New York Met Manager Davey Johnson when asked to explain the decline of Ron Darling this year: "He's got a restaurant, a baby and a book."

Add Johnson: Asked about the booing of Dwight Gooden at Wrigley Field Wednesday, he said: "What do you expect? They boo their own fans here. The left-field bleacher fans boo the right field, the right field boos home plate."

Add Mets: Marty Noble of Newsday, on Tom Seaver, who has joined the Mets for the third time: "Seaver was not particularly popular with the players, particularly the younger players, in his second tour with the Mets. They found him aloof and condescending. Pitchers found him unwilling to share his vast knowledge of his art."

Miami Dolphin Coach Don Shula, asked about Tampa Bay rookie Vinny Testaverde, told the St. Petersburg Times: "I think he's in a class by himself. Tampa Bay absolutely had to bank its future on Vinny. To be that big, that fast and have that great an arm, well, it makes Testaverde a unique package.

"I've seen Vinny shake two or three tacklers off his back, sprint with great quickness to avoid the rush, and then zing a pass you wouldn't believe. And Testaverde's also a great kid. His type is tough to come by."

Trivia Answer: Claude Osteen. He was 20-15 in 1969 and 20-11 in 1972.


Jawann Oldham of the New York Knicks: "I wish they'd hurry up and name a general manager, so I can demand to be traded."

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