Shaquille O'Neal was literally a show stopper Thursday in Rio de Janeiro while appearing for a demonstration of American basketball at Mangueira's Vila Olympica--a sports center that seeks to help poor youth in the Mangueira slum.
The demonstration was to be followed by a game between two local teams, but shortly after arriving to a hero's welcome, O'Neal brought the gym's backboard crashing to the ground on a dunk.
Local media reported that the Laker center left shortly after without saying a word, much to the disappointment of the hundreds of children and adolescents gathered there.
The game scheduled to follow the demonstration had to be canceled because only one basket remained intact. Reebok, O'Neal's sponsor, is expected to cover the costs of the broken backboard.
Trivia time: John Unitas and Dan Marino have the same middle name. What is it?
Nostalgia: Tom FitzGerald in the San Francisco Chronicle: "Seventy-five years ago today [last Tuesday], Baby Doll Jacobson hit three triples, leading the St. Louis Browns to a 16-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.
"Nothing special about this anniversary. We just wanted to point out that they don't make nicknames like they used to."
Picky, picky: Bobby Johns will have to come up with another name for his bar and grill in Daytona Beach, Fla.
A federal court ruled that NASBAR and Grill was too close to NASCAR's name and told Johns to stop using it.
Strange coupling: Maureen Dowd of the New York Times: "It's hard to imagine the patrician president and the brutish boxer having the same corner man.
"But Sig Rogich, the Las Vegas crisis management guru who used to work at the White House polishing [George] Bush's image, has been hired by Don King to polish Mike Tyson's image."
Dowd writes that Rogich also worked for Frank Sinatra.
Serious stuff: Carol Collinsworth, a 49-year-old flight attendant who attends every Nebraska football game: "You don't go to weddings [on game days]. You don't go to funerals. You don't even dare die during the football season."
Looking back: On this day in 1964, the Harland Svare-coached Rams opened the season with a 26-14 victory over the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Trivia answer: Constantine.
And finally: In categorizing the NBA off-season, Peter May of the Boston Globe declares the Lakers the biggest team winner:
"GM Extraordinaire Jerry West said it best: 'We have a championship-caliber team.' Rick Fox is a terrific addition. The Lakers are six deep and that doesn't include Kobe Bryant.
"The downside is that they still have Nick Van Exel. They also have to rely on Shaq, who, as we all know, has won everywhere except college and the pros."