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Morning Briefing

Dennis, Please Take It a Little Easy on the NBA's Basketballs

November 11, 1987

Nothing against Dennis Johnson, but National Basketball Assn. fans can only hope he doesn't last as long in the league as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Reason? Every year, Johnson adds a bounce of the ball to his ritual before taking a free throw. He's now up to 12 bounces.

He admits to having second thoughts, though.

"The other night, I was bouncing it six times," he said. "You do get pretty tired doing it 12 times."

Trivia Time: What the Heisman Trophy is to college football the Hermann Trophy is to what? (Answer to follow.)

From the Boston Globe: "The visiting Soviet National basketball team wanted to see an X-rated movie while in Milwaukee.

"Unable to find one in town, someone suggested 'Fatal Attraction' as the best available substitute, since it does have some steamy moments.

"After watching the hot-n-heavy 'elevator scene,' the Soviets applauded."

Wait a Minute: Said New York Coach Rick Pitino after the Knicks made up most of a 25-point third-quarter deficit before losing to the Boston Celtics, 96-87: "We got a little too far behind. If you are 6 or 8 down or even 10 points you can get the job done, but not when you are 25."

On Christmas Day in 1985, the Knicks beat the Celtics, 113-104, in double overtime after trailing by 25 points at halftime.

Oregon State defensive end Tom Vettrus, on UCLA: "They have an excellent offense, a mixed attack. They can either throw or run. They'll make a very good Rose Bowl team."

Well, that takes care of USC.

Alabama football Coach Bill Curry, on sports agents: "I tell my players, 'Don't sell yourself short. If a guy offers you a couple grand and calls it a loan, tell me, and we'll get him out of here. If he offers you a half-million dollars, let me know, because I won't be counting on you next year. Take the money.' "

Wrote Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe when Pace Mannion caught on with the Milwaukee Bucks after stints with Golden State, Utah and New Jersey: "This guy is a professional team maker. The trouble is, after he makes your team, you find out he can't play for it."

From Boris Becker, saying his goal is to win Wimbledon and Olympic Games titles next year: "I would like to be in Seoul for the opening ceremonies, and if they can't find anybody better to do it, I'd like to carry the German flag into the stadium. The Olympics, that is something unique."

If Becker wins the Olympics, he won't be the first Wimbledon champion to win both. Albert Gore of Britain did it in 1908. Among the women, Suzanne Lenglen of France and Helen Wills of the United States did it in the 1920s.

Trivia Answer: College soccer.

Quotebook

Robert Parish of the Boston Celtics, on a dunk by Larry Bird: "He was really off the floor. They could have put two sheets of paper under his feet."

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