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Way to Team's Heart Is Through the Stomach

March 20, 1997|MAL FLORENCE

Blackie Sherrod of the Dallas Morning News recalled that former Oklahoma City University basketball coach Abe Lemons once took his players to dinner at a place called Changs while the team was playing in a tournament in New York's Madison Square Garden:

"The meal was terrible. The next night, when his team trailed at halftime, Lemons made his most effective locker-room speech ever.

" 'I told them if they didn't shape up in the last half, I was going to take them back to Changs for dinner.' They did, and he didn't."

Trivia time: Which are the only Pacific 10 schools to win the National Invitation Tournament?

Skyscraper: North Korea has a basketball player who would look down on 7-foot-7 Gheorghe Muresan of the Washington Bullets. He's 7-9 Ri Myong Hun.

He supposedly has solid basketball skills and wants to play in the NBA. The questions are when and where?

Bashing Bernie: Peter Vescey of the New York Post on Bernie Bickerstaff, coach of the sub-.500 Bullets who started the season as coach of the lowly Denver Nuggets:

"Bernie Bickerstaff leads a charmed life. Most coaches only get the opportunity to lead one team to the lottery in one season."

Another rip: Shaun Powell of Newsday on the lottery-bound Boston Celtics: "Just to make sure they finish with the worst record, the Celtics signed Stacey King to a 10-day contract."

Wilder than ever: Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams is trying to make a comeback with the Kansas City Royals. In a recent game against the St. Louis Cardinals, Andy Van Slyke had to jump back to avoid a Williams fastball.

"It actually hit my shirt," said Van Slyke, who was not awarded first base. "[Royal catcher Mike] Macfarlane said, 'Well, that's the first target he's hit all day.' "

Option: Cigar, the 1995-96 horse of the year, has failed in stud and may be sterile, prompting Michael Ventre of MSNBC to say: "The horse's representatives say he is thinking about adopting."

Advice: Jackie Burke Jr., a former standout golfer, in Playboy magazine: "Keep your head up. Everything in the world with its head down gets eaten. Chickens, hogs, cows. Every time you see a leopard, it's head is up, isn't it? You don't see any leopards getting eaten, do you?"

Hmmm, really haven't thought about it.

Looking back: On this day in 1965, Gail Goodrich scored 42 points to lead UCLA to a 91-80 victory over Michigan in the NCAA championship game at Portland, Ore.

Trivia answer: UCLA in 1985 and Stanford in 1991.

And finally: Jay Leno on Dennis Rodman's fling with professional wrestling:

"Isn't that degrading? One day you're passing the ball to Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player in the history of the world. The next day you're being hit in the head with a folding chair by Professor Tanaka."

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