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THE INSIDE TRACK | MORNING BRIEFING

It Was About Time for Celtics to Throw in Towel

May 07, 1997|STEVE SPRINGER

The hiring of Rick Pitino to coach the Boston Celtics opens a new chapter in the history of the NBA's most successful team.

But it also closes the book on M.L. Carr, a classic underachiever who spent more time in the spotlight for less good reason than perhaps anyone in NBA history.

Carr resigned last week as Boston's coach after compiling a 48-116 record in two seasons, including this season's 15-67, worst in club history.

As a player on the great Larry Bird-Kevin McHale Celtic teams of the '80s, Carr, a reserve, was primarily known for waving a white towel from the bench to inspire the crowd.

The point wasn't lost on the Celtic-hating Laker faithful.

In the 1984 NBA finals, Celtics vs. Lakers, a Forum fan yelled out at Carr: "Hey, M.L., I was going to be you for Halloween, but I got a hernia carrying around the bench."

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Trivia time: What does the M.L. in M.L. Carr stand for?

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Add Pitino: His acceptance of the Boston job finally will end the rampant speculation about his availability for every job that opens up.

After the Washington Post reported that former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson might have secretly married longtime girlfriend Monica Turner, Steve Rosenbloom wrote in the Chicago Tribune: "The newspaper, citing sources it described as close to the couple, said Tyson's first choice was Rick Pitino."

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Add coaching: Former Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, eager to become a coach, was asked why he thinks he would be any more successful on the sideline than his former teammate, Magic Johnson, who coached the Lakers for several weeks a few seasons ago but didn't enjoy the experience.

"Earvin was trying to do too many things--play, coach, be an owner," Abdul-Jabbar told the San Francisco Chronicle. "I know I could reach [the players]."

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, see M.L. Carr.

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New bullies on the block: The Broad Street Bullies would have been proud.

Following in the battle-scarred tradition of the old Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Phantoms of the American Hockey League, a Flyer farm team, got into an old-fashioned brawl with the Hershey Bears in a weekend playoff game at the Spectrum, the result being eight game misconducts and a modern-day league record of 350 penalty minutes.

At one point, every player on the ice was fighting, including the two goaltenders.

"I'm not a fan of what went on," Phantom Coach Bill Barber said. "But we'll play any way a team wants to play."

Barber knows all about playing the way the teams did in this game. He was once a Broad Street Bully himself.

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Trivia answer: Michael Leon.

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And finally: World rally champion Tommi Makinen of Finland hit a cow while driving his Mitsubishi Lancer on Tuesday and had to withdraw from the Tour of Corsica.

About a third of the way through the first timed stage of the day, a 30.4-mile run, Makinen hit the cow, which was wandering across the road. Makinen was not hurt, but the car was damaged too badly to continue.

There was no word on the cow.

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