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San Diego At Large

Once Again, It's Man's Best Friend to the Rescue

August 09, 1992|TONY PERRY

Periodically there is civic wailing that San Diego does not have a professional basketball team.

Yes, but it is home to Air Bud.

Air Bud is a golden retriever. Air Bud has a jump shot worthy of the Dream Team.

Air Bud is the friend/pet/partner of Kevin DiCicco, 29, (pronounced De-chico) who has a business degree and (like lots of other business grads) is working as a waiter at a Shelter Island restaurant.

DiCicco discovered Air Bud five years ago while staying at his grandfather's cabin near Yosemite. Bud was a disheveled stray.

They were playing fetch one day when DiCicco noticed that Bud preferred to catch a tennis ball in his teeth, baseball-catcher style, rather than chase it, canine-style.

DiCicco taught Bud to bounce a basketball into a (regulation-height) hoop with his nose. A star was born.

"He's a three-sport cross-trained dog," DiCicco explains. "Bud knows hockey, Bud knows baseball, but Bud knows basketball best of all."

DiCicco bills Bud as "basketball's top dog."

The pair first appeared on "America's Funniest Home Videos." Then the David Letterman show, the "NBA Inside Stuff" show, and Letterman's 10th anniversary show (where Bud got more applause than Bill Murray and Bob Dylan).

DiCicco contacted every team in the NBA about halftime shows and last season the duo appeared at three games (Lakers-Clippers, Hornets-Pacers, Knicks-Pistons).

He hopes to do 20 more halftimes this coming season.

Local television did a spot on Air Bud, which led to CNN, which led to an invitation from the governor of Illinois for Bud to attend the state fair as a mascot. DiCicco and Bud leave for the fair Friday.

DiCicco is doing a screenplay called "Mascot," about a losing NBA team that discovers a basketball-playing dog and suddenly starts winning.

He hopes a toy company will discover Bud. He hopes to leave his waiter job soon and manage Bud full time.

At the Illinois fair, DiCicco will talk to a man from Kal-Can, the dog food company. And he'll have bundles of Air Bud T-shirts to sell.

"Buddy has made me what I am today," DiCicco says.

Campaign Rhetoric

First-person politics.

* No nudes is good nudes.

Vexed by lack of coverage for its U.S. Senate candidate, June Genis, the local Libertarian Party Central Committee voted to have her do something that would be sure to gather notice.

To wit: A nude bungee jump off the Union-Tribune building in Mission Valley. (Nobody said Libertarians don't have a sense of humor.)

Genis prefers something more traditional but less revealing. She'll hold a (fully clothed) press conference outside the U-T building Monday morning.

* Not in the cards.

Card players around midnight Thursday at the Commerce Club outside Los Angeles may have noticed a dark-haired woman in jeans and sweat shirt accompanied by a younger, taller man.

If there were any sharp-eyed San Diegans present, they might have recognized Mayor Maureen O'Connor and the San Diego (plainclothes) cop who serves as her driver-bodyguard.

O'Connor wanted to check out the Commerce Club action prior to Monday's City Council meeting at which a proposal to establish a similar gambling parlor in Mission Valley will be dealt with.

Nothing she saw changed her mind: She adamantly opposes the idea.

Real Lawyer Jokes

Great moments in jurisprudence.

From trial transcripts in the most recent Law Enforcement Quarterly published by the San Diego County district attorney's office:

* Lawyer : "Doctor, how many autopsies have you performed on dead people?"

Doctor : "All my autopsies have been performed on dead people."

* Lawyer : "Mrs. Jones, is your appearance this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?"

Mrs. Jones : "No. This is how I dress when I go to work."

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